Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reich: Obama Should Use Reconciliation To Enact Health Care Bill

Robert Reich, professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, advises President Obama to enact health care legislation with 51 senate votes through reconciliation, under which tax and spending bills are passed without the supermajority of 60 required by the threat of a filibuster. After dismissing various Democratic fears over the use of the process, Reich states that the president should take a more aggressive stance:

My free advice to the President: If you want to get healthcare enacted you must use reconciliation and quickly. Host your bipartisan gab fest at the White House on Thursday. Tell Republicans you’ve been eagerly awaiting their ideas for over a year, but the American public can’t wait any longer. Explain to them how our current economic mess is directly related to the health care mess — we’re paying 16 percent of our GDP for health care while health insurers are hiking rates and Americans are losing their health insurance every day. Then tell the House and Senate to get to work on putting their bills together (or tell the House Dems to enact the Senate bill and then save their disagreements for reconciliation), and tell Harry Reid you want the Senate bill on a fast track of reconciliation.

Explain to the American people you understand their impatience. The Constitution does not require 60 votes in the Senate to pass legislation. A majority will do. That’s called democracy.

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