Senator Ben Nelson says reconciliation is an antidote to obstruction. There is another proposal dealing with obstruction regarding changing the way filibusters work so that over time the vote threshold can be reduced and so the minority party can force debate but not block legislation. Senator Nelson says that is one option out there.
“If you are going to change it officially, it takes 67 votes. If you are going to change it unofficially, you can use the nuclear option and I’ve fought that battle in the past.”
As Senate Democrats defend the reconciliation option to pass the health care reform bill, some are crying “foul”.
“I think you have to be very careful in taking away the current right of the minority because you don’t necessarily like the way it is working. Times change and it is interesting to see some of the people who fought hardest with me on the Gang of 14 now have reversed their feel because it seems to be the shoe is on the other foot.”
Senator Nelson says rules are in place for a reason.
“I’m one who hasn’t blown with the wind on that. I think there is an important role for the minority and sometimes you have to suck it up and that is the way the system works and it keeps from the Senate becoming a smaller version of the House.”
The reconciliation process allows majority Democrats to get around the required 60-votes that would stop filibusters.
Many Republicans are crying foul with this process but Democrats are saying they used the same tactic during the Bush Administration to get wanted tax cuts.