The Confused State of the Debt Ceiling Mosh Pit

By: Thursday July 21, 2011 9:33 am

With less than two weeks until President Obama’s August 2nd deadline for raising the debt ceiling, there seems to be no coalescence around a single solution. If anything, the scope of ideas being discussed seems to grow wider not narrower. There is the $4 trillion grand bargain offered by President Obama. This deal was rejected [...]

CO-OP Advisory Board Holds First Public Meeting: Success Seems Unlikely

By: Friday January 14, 2011 5:03 pm

While co-ops were once proposed as a possible alternative to the public option, the idea failed to gain public traction outside of the offices of Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR). Yet, like some sort of legislative vestigial organ, the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) was never removed from the final [...]

Where Have All the Deficit Hawks Gone?

By: Friday September 17, 2010 5:30 am

I noticed that earlier this year we were overwhelmed by a wave of anti-deficit grandstanding throughout the Democratic Party while the Catfood Commission was sending up trial balloons about cutting Social Security benefits, raising the retirement age (which is just a sleight-of-hand way of cutting benefits) or cutting the health care benefits for military service [...]

Budget Without Reconciliation Instructions: Just Call It the “Joe Lieberman Empowerment Act of 2010″

By: Tuesday April 20, 2010 7:36 am

Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee Kent Conrad (D-ND) evidently won his battle and is hoping to begin budget markup on Wednesday or Thursday.  But there are no plans to include reconciliation instructions — which means every bill in the Senate for the next year will require 60 votes to pass. Democrats in the House [...]

House Will Likely Need to Vote on Reconciliation Package Again; Time to “Fix It Later” Is Now

By: Tuesday March 23, 2010 1:58 pm

On Sunday, the House passed the Senate health care bill and a reconciliation package that contains a number of so-called fixes. That reconciliation package is being taken up today in the Senate. Because of the strange nature of the Byrd rule, which requires every part of the reconciliation package to affect the budget, it is [...]

Kent Conrad Scores Special Student Loan Deal For North Dakota In Reconciliation Package

By: Thursday March 18, 2010 11:40 am

It looks like Kent Conrad (D-ND), who chairs the Senate Budget Committee through which any reconciliation bill must pass, scored a nice, little, special deal for his home state as part of the student loan reform portion of the reconciliation package. From the summary of the bill: Section 2213. Agreements with State-Owned Banks. This section [...]

Obama Points to the Lack of Insurance Competition, a Problem His Plan No Longer Solves

By: Monday March 8, 2010 7:55 am

The Obama administration, in its push to get the House to vote for the Senate’s health care reform bill unchanged, is pointing to the serious issue of lack of competition in the health insurance market as a powerful reason for reform. Obama’s health care proposal, however, no longer does much to actually solve the problem. [...]

Do House Democrats Need to First Pass Senate Health Care Bill? Former Parliamentarian Says “No”

By: Thursday March 4, 2010 10:09 am

Senate Democrats like Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) are strongly pushing the meme that Senate rules require House Democrats to first pass the Senate health care bill unchanged, then a reconciliation measure of “fixes,” and only then can Senate Democrats do anything.That clearly does not sit well with House Democrats, who are growing [...]

Tom Harkin’s Incoherent, Two-Faced Public Option Nonsense

By: Tuesday March 2, 2010 8:10 am

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) spent most of the year claiming he was a champion of the public option. Now that there is a possibility of getting a public option with a simple majority using reconciliation, Harkin has made clear that he will actively work to kill the public option, while tying himself in incoherent, illogical [...]

Steny Hoyer Latest Democrat to Say House Must Act First

By: Monday March 1, 2010 7:43 am

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has become the latest prominent Democrat to say that the House must move first on health care reform before the Senate can act.