Two stories hit today with different spins on the "reconciliation" maneuver Democrats hoped to use on their healthcare legislation.
Roll Call, the official newspaper for Congress, reports that the Senate Parliamentarian has ruled Obama must sign existing legislation before any reconciliation process can begin. This eliminates the possibilty that the House could vote to accept the Senate version prior to it receiving Obama's signature.
Almost simultaneously, Harry Reid sent a letter to Republicans that he intends to move forward with the reconciliation process. Since reconciliation is designated only for use on budget-conforming items, apparently the move is to make the motion only on a few thrown-in parts of the legislation which -- using imagination -- can be construed as budget-related.
Of course, voting for the reconciliation would in effect be voting for the healthcare legislation, regardless of Reid's claims in his letter. House Democrats, who are much more nervous about their seats in Congress and the upcoming November elections, are given a bit of an "out." They can claim that they didn't vote for the whole thing, but only for those few tchotchkes the Democrat leadership tossed in as a diversion.
Let's hope that Republicans can keep the pressure on House Democrats. Such sweeping, invasive seizing of power by the federal government should not be approved by a narrow majority of politicians against the will of the American people.