Hatch: Baucus Told Me Dems Won't Use Reconciliation on Health Care - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Hatch: Baucus Told Me Dems Won’t Use Reconciliation on Health Care

Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, assured Sen. Orrin Hatch last night that Democrats would not use reconciliation to pass health care legislation, Hatch told reporters this morning at a breakfast sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“I was with the chairman of the Finance Committee last night,” Hatch recounted. “He said, ‘don’t worry about it, we’re not going to do it.'”

Reconciliation is a process allowing the Senate to pass legislation with a simple majority rather than the 60 votes required to stop a filibuster. Originally intended to pass emergency budget bills, its use has expanded over the years, and Democrats passed a budget last month giving them the option of using the procedure to pass health care reform. Hatch said using the tactic, being bushed by liberal Senators, would have disastrous consequences.

“Most of them don’t understand the complexities of trying to use reconciliation on a major substantive piece of legislation that affects one-sixth of the American economy,” he said. “If they want to really get into that, they’re gonna look like fools.”

He continued, “I guarantee you if they use reconciliation you won’t have a plan you like. A reconciliation bill would make health care look like swiss cheese it would have so many holes in it.”

Hatch explained that using the process would mean just 20 hours of debate, and it would pose certain limitations on the way the bill is written.

“The partisan part of me says, ‘Oh, I hope they do that,’ because they’ll have to live with every stinking problem that comes up over the next hundred years,” he said. “And they’re going to be a myriad of problems they never contemplated.”

But Hatch said that he was working closely with Democrats and believed a bipartisan compromise was possible, and that lawmakers can achieve “meaningful reform” this year. 

He said that legislation should focus on seven principles: costs, access, value, prevention, modernization, effectiveness research, and entitlement reform. Any reform should also give states the flexibility to experiment and tailor their systems to the unique needs of their own populations, he said.

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