Obama Pressing for Budget With Reconciliation Language To Be Passed by 100-Day Mark
Democrats have ramped up their efforts to pass the fiscal year 2010 budget resolution by April 29 -- President Obama's 100th day in office -- to give Obama "another victory" and "a better shot at winning health care reform later this year," Politico reports. On Thursday, Obama "made clear" that he wants the compromise legislation to include the option of using the budget reconciliation process to move health care reform legislation through Congress with a simple majority, instead of the 60 votes usually required to avoid a filibuster.
Later in the day, Obama's top advisers -- including White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag -- met with congressional Democrats to discuss efforts to reach a compromise on the budget resolution. Politico reports that one person present at the meeting said that the chances were "fairly good" that the compromise measure would include reconciliation language. Politico reports that Republicans have "largely resigned" to the fact that reconciliation instructions will be included.
After the meeting, Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) was "hesitant" to publicly commit to including reconciliation instructions in the final resolution, Politico reports. According to Politico, Conrad is a "pivotal player" in whether reconciliation will be included; he could be the deciding vote on the Senate side in the compromise resolution. Conrad "appears open" to an agreement on reconciliation, but it is unclear what concessions he would demand in exchange for including the instructions, according to Politico.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the decision to include reconciliation language in the measure could inhibit bipartisan efforts in the Senate. In addition, Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) added that reconciliation would be counterproductive.
If the resolution is passed by Wednesday, which would "open the door to health care reform," it "would be a symbolic victory the White House clearly covets," according to Politico (Rogers/O'Connor, Politico, 4/23). According to the Washington Post, passing the budget plan on Wednesday would "mak[e] room for Obama's top domestic priorities," including health care reform (Shear/Murray, Washington Post, 4/24).