Friday, January 15, 2010

Blue State Blues

The Massachusetts Democratic party, having been gobsmacked by Scott Brown's masterful implementation of the RNC's hobgoblin strategy, is bracing for possible defeat on Tuesday if Martha Coakley's lackluster campaign fails and thus derails Ted Kennedy's long-sought goal of coaxing a skeptical electorate into healthcare-reform Nirvana.

Fret not, fellow Liberals. Should Brown win -- stll a long-shot in this bluest of blue states, despite polls to the contrary -- the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate will counter the consequent loss of its 60 vote supermajority by implementing the reconciliation procedural rule. This arcane rule derives from an accounting term having to do with balancing budgets.

The Library of Congress website advises that "the chief purpose of the reconciliation process is to enhance Congress’s ability to change current law in order to bring revenue, spending, and debt-limit levels into conformity with the policies of the annual budget resolution", a process requiring only a simple majority.

Wikipedia reminds Republicans who might cry foul that "until 1996 reconciliation was limited to deficit reduction; but in 1996 the Senate's Republican majority adopted a precedent to apply reconciliation to any legislation affecting the budget, even legislation that would increase the deficit. Under the administration of George W. Bush, Congress used reconciliation to enact three major tax cuts. These tax cuts were set to lapse after 10 years to satisfy the Byrd Rule. Efforts to use reconciliation to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling failed".

See you at the polls.

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