Divisive legislative tool gaining favor, healthcare reconciliation may be an option
Senate Democrats are increasingly receptive to using a controversial budget shortcut to ease passage of healthcare reform legislation, a shift in stance encouraged by the White House but denounced by Republicans. The procedure, known as reconciliation, is included in the House's budget blueprint but is not in the Senate version. The House reconciliation language would allow lawmakers to bundle into a single bill all facets of healthcare reform, combining the coverage initiatives that President Obama has advocated with the tax increases and spending cuts needed to offset the program's high costs. The rule also would protect the legislation from a Republican filibuster.
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