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Word of the Day: Reconciliation

by Countable | 10.19.17

Why this word? Why today?

Because Republicans hope to pass their tax reform measure via reconciliation. When it comes to reconciliation bills, debate in both houses is limited to 20 hours and Senate filibusters aren’t allowed.

Reconciliation begins with the passage of a budget resolution in both chambers of Congress that includes reconciliation directives—and that’s what’s happening now. The House passed its budget proposal on October 5, and the Senate voted this week to open debate on the House-passed resolution. A final Senate vote on the budget should occur in the next few days.

The 2018 budget resolution, which contains the reconciliation directive, would enable Republicans to move tax legislation through the Senate on a simple majority vote (51), bypassing any threat of a Democratic filibuster. With the GOP controlling the Senate with a slim 52-48 margin, and with Democrats unlikely to support the tax-reform bill, reconciliation seems the only option to pass President Trump’s tax code overhaul.

Reconciliation came into being with the 1974 Congressional Budget Act. It was originally intended as a means to reduce budget deficits by making it easier to pass budget and tax deals. Both sides of the aisle have used it for much more than this—including passing, and trying to repeal, Obamacare.

Tell your reps what you think of the reconciliation process using the Take Action button and join the conversation in the comments below.

—Josh Herman

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(11)
  • Cindylen
    10/19/2017
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    Something as important as tax reform surely deserve more debate time than 20 hours. It’s not about getting it done, it’s about getting it done right. And btw, not one cent for trumps wall until Puerto Rico is cared for and we have a system in place such that the most vulnerable of us can afford quality health care.

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  • Pat
    10/19/2017
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    Reconciliation is a dirty word. It shuts down bi partisanship. Twenty hours of debate is not sufficient to address what is at stake for all Americans. This should require 60 votes to pass. The major flaws in this bill are: reduction of Medicare and Medicaid benefits, environmental issues that are not protected (and has no place in a budget like drilling in the North Arctic.) It cuts Pell Grants for college and It gives breaks to the rich and corporations and opens more benefits for them but takes away state income and real estate tax deductions for those, who need it most, middle and lower income Americans. In addition the lowest income bracket raise the rate by two percent while the highest rate gets lowered by 4%. The truth is other important safety net issues like fuel assistance, affordable housing and education are reduced. This is a smoke and mirrors game from where I am sitting. I am a clinical social worker and think whoever votes yes to this draconian bill should have to explain to those , who are losing all the way around, and look them in the eye and explain all that they lose is to their benefit. Cutting the subsidies to the ACA was part of the grand scheme to fund this tax reform. Regular order and input from both sides should have been the order of the day.

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  • Nona
    10/20/2017
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    Imagine you are a business owner. Would you want just over half your employees to dictate how you will spend your money for the next year with less than one full day or three work days worth of discussion? That's essentially what the reconciliation process does. Remember, the government technically exists at the will of the public and what they're spending is coming from your taxes.

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  • BananaNeil
    10/20/2017
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    Reconciliation? More like ReconSILLYation.

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  • Lawrence
    10/19/2017
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    No to this proposal by the republicans.

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  • KansasTamale
    10/19/2017
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    The Republican Dictatorship in the Federal Government can’t pass anything without CHANGING THE RULES. THE RULE CHANGING SHOULD BE ILLEGAL FOR BOTH SIDES.

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  • Donna
    10/20/2017
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    When did the majority party turn into the ruling party in this country? This is the beginning of the end for our democratic republic. I am sure the Founding Fathers are flipping in their graves (or tombs or whatever) right about now. Tax reform affects EVERY tax-paying American citizen. The details of the tax code should be discussed by the Republican, Democratic and Independent statesmen in Congress -- if you can find any. This just proves the middle-class tax cut was just another lie told by our elected officials and the liar-in-chief. If the tax program was not going to be a give-away to the 1% and major, greedy. uber-rich corporations, why are the Republicans afraid of a 60-vote majority?

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  • Gail
    10/20/2017
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    What a joke. There will be no reconciliation under this presidency, hell bent on the destruction of our democracy with the cudgel of hatred, wielded with mindless, daily abandon, a freak show that the American people are forced to endure.

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  • Mindful
    10/20/2017
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    Debate limitation of “20hrs.” In both Houses-51 Majority in The House. Is this, honestly, in our best interests? Our BUDGET deserves a little more time investment, don’t you agree?

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  • Christine
    10/20/2017
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    Disgusting. This is what happens when the only thing you have is completely closing out the minority party. Who needs compromise and working together. Seriously attacking the health of our democracy. Both sides are guilty of using this partisan tactic. BAD FORM.

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  • CheriAGaspero
    10/20/2017
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    The ONLY way Republican can pass ANYTHING is to change the RULES to make sure ONLY their votes count, thereby shutting down the portion of the country they don't want to hear from. I'm so sick of the back-door, dirty tricks of Republicans and it's time to take back the HOUSE and SENATE and make certain the current rule of the GOP ENDS the financial gutting of programs that help the poor, middle-class, and seniors so they can give bigger tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. Let me be perfectly clear, the GOP has absolutely no problem using rules that were never meant to be abused to SCREW AMERICANS financially, ESPECIALLY the most vulnerable, all to fatten their bank accounts, Trump's, their wealthy campaign contributors, and, of course, their friends Koch Industries and Monsanto!

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