A top Republican senator on Wednesday proposed the possibility of repealing any healthcare law that is passed by congressional Democrats using the reconciliation strategy.
Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said it is not surprising that Democrats would use reconciliation to pass their healthcare bill. The parliamentary technique would require only 50 votes plus a tie-breaker by Vice President Joe Biden, instead of the 60 votes that would be required instead.
Gregg said Senate Democrats are pursuing the conventional wisdom strategy of persuading House Democrats to pass the Senate bill, and then making requested changes in a Senate bill pushed through under reconciliation.
"The purpose is to buy votes from the liberal constituencies in the House who won't vote for the big Senate bill because it isn't liberal enough — even though it's a huge bill and a massive expansion of government — and the result will be, if they're successful, that the Senate bill will have to be signed and passed by the president," Gregg said.
"So you'd have this huge expansion of the government in the area of spending and bureaucracy — all the problems that the health care system has now will then be law. I think that would be a real affront to the American people. The main effort then would be repealing it."
Gregg denied that Republicans are hypocritical for criticizing Democrats' use of reconciliation, even though they have used the technique as well.
"Reconciliation has never been used for a massive rewrite of policy like this," he said. "Adjusting tax rates is not like rewriting the entire healthcare system of the United States. It's substantive. It's very different."