Gregg: Dems won't use reconciliatin because it's too politically risky

Democrats will not use budget reconciliation to pass healthcare reform because it's too politically risky, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) suggested Wednesday.

Gregg said that while "many people are beating the drum" for reconciliation, parliamentary rules would likely result in lawmakers being forced to vote only for tax hikes and spending cuts, and very little actual health policy.

"I don't see that they will use reconciliation, because it's a weapon that will basically shoot themselves in the foot," Gregg said during a phone call into CNBC.

Budget reconciliation would be used to short-circuit Senate rules on a filibuster to pass healthcare reform with a simple majority instead of the 60 votes necessary to end a filibuster.

But the Senate parliamentarian could rule non-budgetary issues in the bill out of order, meaning lawmakers would only be left to vote on taxes and spending contained in the bill.

Gregg argued that reconciliation would leave a number of lawmakers too politically exposed for them to risk invoking the tactic.

"You can't put most of the policy in the bill, and you're going to make Senate members who vote for it -- and House members, for that matter -- vote for the taxes and vote for the spending cuts to Medicare, for very little of the policy," he said. "As a practical matter, I don't see it working."

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