Sen. Graham claims use of reconciliation for health reform ‘would be catastrophic’

By Stephen C. Webster
Sunday, March 7, 2010 20:44 EDT
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Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has either a tack for exaggeration or a faltering memory, if his conclusion about the use of reconciliation during a Sunday television appearance is any indicator of such things.

His comments on CBS’ Face the Nation seemed to echo other Republicans who’ve been attempting to frame the 51-vote parliamentary device as some kind of radical usurpation of democracy, almost akin to “ripping a piece of the fabric of America off,” according to Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).

“It would be catastrophic,” Graham claimed, comparing the pending reconciliation vote on health reform to Republicans triggering the so-called “nuclear option” to ban filibusters over President Bush’s judicial nominees.

Graham also claimed, “we’ve had reconciliation votes, but all of them have had bipartisan support. The least was 12 when we did reconciliation with tax cuts.”

“Graham’s claim that ‘the least’ amount of Democratic votes a GOP reconciliation bill received ‘was 12′ is flat out false,” Matt Corley noted over at Think Progress. “As The Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky has detailed, during the Bush presidency, the Republican-controlled Senate passed three reconciliation bills with three or less Democratic votes. The 2003 Bush tax cuts were supported by only two Democrats and needed Vice President Dick Cheney’s tie-breaking vote to pass.”

Republicans have been scolded in recent weeks by the Senate’s Democratic leadership for making wild exaggerations about the use of reconciliation. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) slammed opposition lawmakers as being entitled to their opinions, but “not your own facts.”

The Senate leader noted that his party has made various concessions to GOP health care demands, only to be continually rebuffed at every turn. He pointedly blamed Republicans for playing fast and loose with the truth.

“So let’s look at the facts a little bit more, because they can be stubborn, you know.”

Republicans have used reconciliation 17 times in the last 30 years: in 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2005, according to MSNBC.

This video is from CBS’ Face the Nation, broadcast Sunday, March 7, 2010, as snipped by Think Progress.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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