Democrats, including then-Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez, protested the Republicans using reconciliation in 2005. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Maybe if it was called “the gridlock slayer” instead of “budget reconciliation,” more people in the Capitol’s orbit would be getting excited about the revival of a form of legislative magic that hasn’t been practiced in almost five years.
One of the biggest congressional stories of 2015 is going to be how the Republicans, in total control for the first time in eight years, conjure many of their boldest and fondest policymaking desires into a single legislative punch and then whisk the huge behemoth past Democratic senators stripped of their normal filibuster powers. The only potential mystery is whether they’ll end up watching helplessly as the entire conservative fireball gets vaporized with a few swooshes of President Barack Obama’s pen.
That’s because the sorcery of reconciliation, while very powerful, has an even more forceful antidote: the veto.
For those who’ve arrived on the Hill since the last midterms — after swearing-in day on Jan. 6, that will include at least 44 senators and about 48 percent of the House — a very short course in the recently moribund budget process may be helpful as a starting point. Full story