Everyone has been buzzing about reconciliation, a procedural trick for getting around the Senate filibuster on ObamaCare. But first the House has to pass it. And yes, the House has to go first, as Sen. Kent Conrad made clear today:
The House must pass the Senate bill first — before either chamber considers the reconciliation package, he said.
“I don’t know of any way, I don’t know of any way where you can have a reconciliation bill pass before the bill that it is meant to reconcile passes,” said Conrad, who would be a central figure on the Senate floor if Democrats embark on the complicated process. ”I don’t know how you would deal with the scoring. I don’t know how I could look you in the eye and say this package reduces the deficit. It’s kind of got the cart before the horse.”
When reminded that House Democrats don’t want to do health care in that order, Conrad said bluntly: “Fine, then it’s dead.”
Yup. And how’s Nancy Pelosi doing rounding up those votes? Pelosi, it seems, isn’t close to getting her majority for ObamaCare II:
The chances of passing the president’s plan through the House appear to be growing slimmer by the hour. The three-vote margin the original bill had is all but gone. The one Republican who voted “yes,” Rep. Anh “Joseph’” Cao of Louisiana, says he’s a “no.” Rep. Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat who authored the tougher House abortion language, says the compromise language is “unacceptable.’” Now, [Rep. Dennis]Kucinich says he will not make up for those losses.
So heading into tomorrow’s summit we see that, indeed, there is less here than meets the eye. Obama has a proposal with no CBO score, no popular mandate, and no congressional majority. He better have an exit strategy.