Dem Leadership: Bunning Episode Proves The Need For Reconciliation

Lauren Victoria Burke/WDCPIX.COM
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Sen. Jim Bunning’s marathon filibuster–which cut unemployment benefits and triggered thousands of furloughs–is over. But it’s not forgotten. In a statement provided to TPMDC a Senate Democratic leadership aide notes that the episode highlights the need for the Senate to return to a time when filibusters weren’t the norm–and that includes amending comprehensive health care legislation using reconciliation.

“Bunning lifted the curtain on the great lengths that Republicans go to drag out every single action taken by the Senate, no matter how routine,” the aide says. “This is why we need to return to an era of more up or down votes and fewer filibusters. It’s why all options are on the table moving forward, including reconciliation.”

Obviously, Democratic leaders have been building a reconciliation strategy for weeks–it’s not as if reconciliation was off the table until Jim Bunning went nuclear. But his filibuster crystallizes why it is Democrats have lost faith in the standard legislative process and help them justify the move.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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