Sen. Lamar Alexander, during his opening remarks at the White House health care summit, called on President Obama and Democrats to renounce the use of reconciliation to ram through a bill on a purely partisan basis. Alexander said it was important first step toward Obama’s stated goal of having Republicans and Democrats work together on legislation.
President Obama did not respond to Alexander’s request, but instead called on Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to make their opening statements.
Americans oppose the use of reconciliation to pass a health care bill by a 52 percent to 39 percent margin, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll.
UPDATE: Harry Reid says, “Nobody is talking about reconciliation,” but then makes the case that it’s done all the time.
Obama’s response: “Rather than at the outset start talking about legislative process, and what’s going to happen in the Senate and the House, and this and that, what I suggest is let’s talk about the substance, how we might help the American people deal with cost, coverage, insurance, these other issues, and we might surprise ourselves and find out that we agree more than we disagree. And that would then help to dictate how we move forward. It may turn out on the other hand that there’s just too big of a gulf, and then we’ll have to figure out how we proceed from there.”