Obama Speech May Open Reconciliation to Force Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
September 11, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The speech President Barack Obama gave on Wednesday night didn’t win him many supporters for his pro-abortion health care bills among Republicans. But it may have lit a fire under Democrats enough to prompt them to reconsider using the controversial reconciliation tactic.
Reconciliation is the special budget process normally reserved for emergency situations that allows the majority to push through a bill in the Senate.
It prevents the minority their traditional rights to filibuster a bill and makes it so backers of legislation need only 50 votes instead of 60 to cut off debate.
While Obama is supposedly hoping for a bipartisan effort to support his government-run health care system that would open the door for massive abortion funding, a leading Obama official says he and Senate Democrats may go it alone.
White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told CNS News that reconciliation is in play if needed to get the controversial bill or parts of it through the Senate.
"[A]t the end of the day this is not just a matter of process. Its a matter of progress, Axelrod said. And its enormously important that we get something done — and we’ll get it done, and we’ll do what the situation requires.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday, as he has before, that he is open to using reconciliation to railroad a bill through the Senate without Republican support.
"We look forward to a bipartisan bill," Reid said. "We want to continue on the road of bipartisanship that we’ve traveled so far, and there are Republicans that are out there willing to help us. I’m confident of that."
But he said he would not rule out the parliamentary maneuver.
A senior Obama administration official tells The Hill, a newspaper that covers Congress, that reconciliation is definitely on the table.
I think getting something done is paramount here," a senior administration official said before Obamas address to Congress. "We want to bring along everyone whos willing to come with us, but the fact that not everyone is willing to come with us is not an excuse to fail in dealing with what is really a fundamental issue that has to be done."
A Senate Republican leadership aide told the newspaper that would set up a contentious Senate and spark numerous problems in the relationship between the parties.
If Democrats use controversial insider tactics to force a proposal that the majority of Americans disagree with, not only would they guarantee bipartisan opposition, but they would also spark a new level of outrage among a huge majority of people in this country," the aide said.
The Hill indicates it expects there will not be enough Republican support for the pro-abortion bill in the Senate and that Democrats will have to consider yanking their filibuster rights.
"But the more likely scenario is that Republicans will continue to oppose Obamas plan, and the president later this fall will be able to note he tried to strike a deal with the GOP but could not," the Hill speculates.
"That will set up a Democratic argument that Senate leaders have been forced to use a partisan budget tool known as reconciliation to pass a health bill through the Senate by a simple majority, instead of 60 votes," it continued.
Under the budget plan Senate Democrats passed earlier this year, they could invoke the reconciliation process on October 15.
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