Monday, March 1, 2010

Democrat Kent Conrad: Byrd Rule Disqualifies Reconciliation of Health Care

Refreshing. A rule actually matters to one Democrat. Senator Kent Conrad (ND) says he is the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and he understands how reconciliation works, and under the Byrd Rule, reconciliation cannot be used to pass the health care bill. See video below.

Kent Conrad was elected to the Senate in January, 1987. He became President of the Senate Budget Committee in January 4, 2007, replacing Republican Judd Gregg. Conrad was profiled by The American for his knowledge of economic issues. He is a member of the Gang of 10, which is now a Gang of 20 and advocates for more offshore drilling, and other energy measures. He endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, but is considered a somewhat conservative Democrat. He voted with Republicans against a health care bill that included a public option, and voted for the Stupak amendment which denies public-funded abortion. He has consistently voted against partial-birth abortion.

Senator Kent Conrad - No Reconciliation for Health Care Bill (video)

"The major package would not be done through reconciliation." 
Asked by CBS host Bob Schieffer to elaborate, given that the White House suggested earlier Sunday that they could pass the main bill with a simple majority of 51 votes, Conrad said that reconciliation was not, in fact, an option. 
"I am the chairman of the committee in the Senate, and I think I understand how reconciliation works and can't work," he said, arguing that the so-called Byrd Rule would prevent the use of reconciliation for the main health care bill. "The only possible role I can see for reconciliation would be to make modest changes in the major package." 

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