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News & Press: Government Affairs News

Reconciliation Poised to Play Role in Republican Dominated Government

Thursday, October 6, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Bradley Coffey, MA, AAOE Government Affairs
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Washington, DC - Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) is promising that Republicans in the 115th Congress, should Donald Trump win the Presidency and the GOP maintain it's hold on the House and Senate, will use budget reconciliation to push through a conservative agenda in 2017. That conservative agenda would likely include repeal of the Affordable Care Act and tax cuts, according to Politico.

Reconciliation is a method of legislating that seeks to bypass the minority party and the institutional barriers to passing legislation. It's the same tool Democrats used to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 that so infuriated Republicans.

Under reconciliation, the House and Senate pass an identical budget and include instructions that Congress pass reconciliation legislation that is exempt from a filibuster in the Senate. Once that legislation is in the Senate, it only needs a majority vote to be sent to the President for his/her signature.

Ryan's plan, however, relies on an all Republican federal government or Republican supermajorities in Congress to over-ride a presidential veto. Something that looks increasingly unlikely as the presidential race tips towards Democrat Hillary Clinton and the Senate drifts towards Democratic control. This fear of continuing divided government could be why Speaker Ryan has been so candid about his plans for the future House. Most congressional leaders attempt some language indicating they'll work across the aisle or build bridges to the opposition even if they rarely mean it. Ryan's comments are inherently partisan (a former director of the Congressional Budget Office once declared that any bill passed using reconciliation becomes a "political pinata") and could be an attempt to inject some conservative excitement into the election to get them out to the polls on November 8.

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