We’ve been hearing that Republicans can’t repeal Obamacare because repealing legislation requires 60 votes or it can be filibustered! They can’t repeal Obamacare with reconciliation because it would increase the deficit! No, the real reason why they can’t repeal Obamacare is because they. don’t. want. to. repeal. Obamacare.
What is Reconciliation?
Reconciliation is a special budget measure that allows the House and Senate to limit debate to 20 hours in order to pass critical bills aimed directed towards increasing/decreasing revenues. It was created by the Congressional Review Act of 1974 and amended several times.
Obamacare is a strong candidate for repeal due to the effects it has on the budget. This is a critical closing campaign issue that got Trump into the White House because people believed he would REPEAL and replace Obamacare. So why not use reconciliation to repeal the law that the Democrats so hold dear?
Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse has been attempting to put out the reasons why the GOP simply can’t repeal Obamacare with reconciliation:
A clean repeal bill, meaning a law to repeal the entire ObamaCare construct only, would require another 60 vote hurdle in the Senate.
Republicans, while in the majority, only control 52 seats. Without 8 Democrats voting to approve a “repeal bill”, any House (Or Senate) bill that repeals ObamaCare cannot pass the Senate.
This is why Mark Levin is a con-man; selling snake oil as outrage to keep a listening audience angry, yet clueless and hopeless. That’s what I don’t like.
A complete repeal of ObamaCare is currently impossible. The House Freedom Caucus can push all the repeal bills they want, but they cannot get a clean repeal bill through the Senate because they cannot get the 60 votes needed. Period.
Additionally, despite claims to the contrary, the GOP has never passed an Obamacare “repeal bill”. Ever. What they did previously pass was a “defund bill” using the lower vote reconciliation process. President Obama vetoed it. A defunding bill was possible because of the financial pathway which falls under reconciliation rules. The current Ryan bill is almost identical to the 2016 defunding bill everyone is mistakenly calling a prior “repeal bill”.
A complete independent repeal bill of ObamaCare is currently impossible.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. This is totally false. What happened to hope? What happened to thinking outside the box?
He’s using the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and the subsequent amendment called the Byrd Rule, that allows any Senator to make a point of order to have extraneous (unrelated to the budget/doesn’t increase or decrease revenues) or budget busting measures stricken from any reconciliation bill, as the justification why the Republicans simply just can’t repeal Obamacare with reconciliation. A full list of tests for reconciliation bills follow:
Byrd rule tests – Section 313(b)(1) of the Congressional Budget Act sets forth six tests for matters to be considered extraneous under the Byrd rule. The criteria apply to provisions that:
- do not produce a change in outlays or revenues;
- produce changes in outlays or revenue which are merely incidental to the non-budgetary components of the provision;
- are outside the jurisdiction of the committee that submitted the title or provision for inclusion in the reconciliation measure;
- increase outlays or decrease revenue if the provision’s title, as a whole, fails to achieve the Senate reporting committee’s reconciliation instructions;
- increase net outlays or decrease revenue during a fiscal year after the years covered by the reconciliation bill unless the provision’s title, as a whole, remains budget neutral;
- contain recommendations regarding the OASDI (social security) trust funds.
What the Republicans and those agreeing with them, saying WE CAN’T DO ANYTHING! don’t tell you is… for a repeal of Obamacare with reconciliation, all we need is the presiding officer of the Senate or chair of the committee to reject all points of order brought up by Democrats on the Byrd Rule.
That’s it. It is that simple. The Senate presiding officer or chair of the committee the bill is being debated on simply tells each Senator that the point is not in order and the bill passes as is.
For those doubting this, here is the actual code (2 U.S. Code § 644) courtesy of Cornell University:
a) In general
When the Senate is considering a reconciliation bill or a reconciliation resolution pursuant to section 641 of this title (whether that bill or resolution originated in the Senate or the House) or section 907d of this title, upon a point of order being made by any Senator against material extraneous to the instructions to a committee which is contained in any title or provision of the bill or resolution or offered as an amendment to the bill or resolution, and the point of order is sustained by the Chair, any part of said title or provision that contains material extraneous to the instructions to said Committee as defined in subsection (b) shall be deemed stricken from the bill and may not be offered as an amendment from the floor.
(e)General point of order
Notwithstanding any other law or rule of the Senate, it shall be in order for a Senator to raise a single point of order that several provisions of a bill, resolution, amendment, motion, or conference report violate this section. The Presiding Officer may sustain the point of order as to some or all of the provisions against which the Senator raised the point of order. If the Presiding Officer so sustains the point of order as to some of the provisions (including provisions of an amendment, motion, or conference report) against which the Senator raised the point of order, then only those provisions (including provisions of an amendment, motion, or conference report) against which the Presiding Officer sustains the point of order shall be deemed stricken pursuant to this section. Before the Presiding Officer rules on such a point of order, any Senator may move to waive such a point of order as it applies to some or all of the provisions against which the point of order was raised. Such a motion to waive is amendable in accordance with the rules and precedents of the Senate. After the Presiding Officer rules on such a point of order, any Senator may appeal the ruling of the Presiding Officer on such a point of order as it applies to some or all of the provisions on which the Presiding Officer ruled.
How Does This Apply to a Bill That Will Repeal Obamacare With Reconciliation?
Essentially what this boils down to: the Senate Presiding officer (a Republican Senator) can rule any points of order against the bill that will repeal Obamacare with reconciliation to be out of order and not sustain their objections. Any objections need to pass 60 votes in the Senate, essentially making the Democrats find twelve Republicans who are against the repeal of Obamacare. There might be six of them, but they won’t find twelve.
This is both simple and easy to do, it doesn’t require any nuclear option, it simply requires Mitch McConnell to tell the presiding officer NOT to sustain any objection to the bill. The Senate parliamentarian may disagree, and he can be either ignored as Reid did when he nuked the filibuster for appointments, or he can be simply replaced as they did in 1975.
Even so, by any standard a simple repeal’s language would not be extraneous, no matter how much the Democrats cry their fake crocodile tears over it. Any Obamacare repeal bill will result in increased tax revenues for the federal government by providing people with more disposable income. This would happen with young, healthy people largely due to them choosing not to spend their money on health insurance (Wow! Choice! What a concept!).
For those who remain on health insurance, they will suddenly find it to be a lot cheaper, now that they are not being forced to pay for premiums that include prenatal care and birth control for men and unwanted mental health care.
When anyone tells you that we can’t get a simple repeal Obamacare with reconciliation, they are lying.