Democrats and double standards: Changing their tune on reconciliation?

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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So the ObamaCare individual mandate stands — as a tax. Interestingly, that makes it vulnerable to a senate procedure known as “reconciliation,” whereby Republicans can repeal the tax without the standard 60 votes (thus, bypassing the filibuster.)

As such, if the GOP takes control of the Senate and regains the White House next year, ObamaCare could be swiftly repealed. Predictably, the left is up in arms over this hypothetical maneuver.

For example, here’s Tim Murphy, a reporter for Mother Jones:

Nice try. But charges of hypocrisy run both ways. Back in 2010, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid sent Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a missive detailing his plans to use reconciliation to pass ObamaCare: “We will [pass the legislation], Reid wrote, … [W]e plan to use the regular budget reconciliation process that the Republican caucus has used many times.” (That was the nicer version of Reid’s language. He also told Republicans to “stop crying over reconciliation.”)

I oppose the use of budget reconciliation in this instance on principle. It was meant for specific and limited uses — to assist lawmakers in passing budgets for a single fiscal year. But it wasn’t meant to be used to pass complex or controversial legislation — nor to repeal it. Moreover, the filibuster is an institution of the senate, meant to protect the rights of the minority. If budget reconciliation were to become the norm (as it appears it now might), it would effectively destroy the filibuster.

But my opinion won’t change the fact that we are all about to witness some examples of gross partisanship and hypocrisy. Democrats can’t have it both ways. They can’t threaten to use reconciliation to pass a bill, and then cry foul when the tables are turned.

Matt K. Lewis