Robert Byrd also may have saved us from nationalized health care back in 1994. Bill Clinton wanted to pass his (really his wife’s) health care plan using the reconciliation process, which is not subject to Senate filibusters. Byrd informed Clinton that the health care plan was outside the bounds of the normal budgeting process and that he would invoke the Byrd Rule to stop it. It takes 60 votes to waive the Byrd Rule, so the plan still would have needed 60 votes to pass the Senate. Clinton backed down and then was never able to cobble together a supermajority for his health care legislation.
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