Today, during his remarks on the way forward for health care reform, President Obama indirectly but strongly called for using reconciliation. From his speech:
Reform has already passed the House with a majority. It has already passed the Senate with a supermajority of sixty votes. And now it deserves the same kind of up-or-down vote that was cast on welfare reform, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, COBRA health coverage for the unemployed, and both Bush tax cuts – all of which had to pass Congress with nothing more than a simple majority.
These bills did not just pass with a simple majority in the Senate, they all–importantly–passed using budget reconciliation. For members of Congress waiting for direction from Obama, this is about as close as he will probably ever come to calling for the use of reconciliation.
What was left out of the speech was whether Obama expected the House to pass the Senate bill first before passing a reconciliation “sidecar,” which the Senate would then need to also pass. Several sources, however, report that this seems to be the most expected path on the hill right now.