A six-hour summit offered a plethora of opportunity for things to be made up and our politicians did not disappoint (see Politifact’s jam-packed Twitter feed for more). But there was one particularly bizarre untrue claim made today by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He set the bar high when, in his opening statement, he claimed that “no one has talked about reconciliation.” Which is weird, since, a lot of people—people who are Democratic senators, no less—have talked about it. Like Chuck Schumer, who signed on to a letter urging for a public option via reconciliation. In an e-mail to his supporters last week, he specified “I just added my name to their effort to pass a public option through the reconciliation process, and I wanted you to be the first to know.” It’s not just Schumer—that letter, at last count, has 24 senators on board.
A quick clip search shows that way back in August—eons ago health-care reform—Kent Conrad was already talking about reconciliation to The New York Times, saying it “is more than theoretically possible."
Even Reid was talking about it. Just last week. On television. From The Hill:
Reid said that congressional Democrats would likely opt for a procedural tactic in the Senate allowing the upper chamber to make final changes to its healthcare bill with only a simple majority of senators, instead of the 60 it takes to normally end a filibuster.Generally, we know why untrue things get said in politics. Namely, a politician does not want to let facts stand in the way of a good argument. With Reid’s statement, it’s a little more murky: what’s the point of saying you’re not using a congressional mechanism that there's a good chance you're going to end up using? The strategy in that is a lot less clear.
"I've had many conversations this week with the president, his chief of staff, and Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi," Reid said during an appearance Friday evening on "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" in Nevada. "And we're really trying to move forward on this."
"We'll do a relatively small bill to take care of what we've already done," Reid said, affirming that Democrats would use the reconciliation process. "We're going to have that done in the next 60 days."