But according to reporting by POLITICO’s David Rogers... That is that reconciliation must amend law but this could be done without the Senate bill being enacted first.How do things become law? I was looking at this document called the Constitution, and it says that the only way for something to become federal law is for the President to sign it into law (or let it become law without his signature and waiting for 10 days while Congress is in session). Did David call anyone in Politico and ask how they suppose something can be "law" without having been signed into law?
For example, if the big bill itself amends some Social Security statute, reconciliation could be written to do the same --with changes sought by the House.Ah yes. If a reconciliation bill could be written as if it had nothing to do with the underlying bill and was amending things already into law, then of course it could be passed without the underlying bill. Can you say, 'Duh?' But that is not the case here. Here, the reconciliation bill will actually amend parts of the Senate bill - parts that create new law and don't yet exist in federal code. That's the point, David. This reconciliation bill isn't just amending statutes that currently exist (and the Senate bill also amending the same statutes). If it amends, for example, the levels of subsidies in the exchanges, you can't exactly do that without creating the exchange first (and the exchanges themselves cannot be created under a reconciliation bill).
Of course, David points to a Roll Call story that says exactly what I just deduced in the above paragraph:
However, it appears that if Democrats choose to pursue reconciliation before the Senate bill is enacted, they likely would have to narrow the scope of the reconciliation bill.Once again, monumental "Duh" moment. The point remains that a reconciliation bill must make changes to existing US code (law). You can write a reconciliation bill to change any currently existing US code as long as the changes fit into the rules of reconciliation. But it cannot amend a law that does not yet exist - which is what David had patently said it could. And if you get that narrow, you won't actually be able to fix everything that needs fixing - especially the subsidy levels (once again, you can't change the subsidies in an exchange if the exchange does not exist in law yet) and the creation of a national exchange. The fact, therefore, remains that the current reconciliation measure, as a whole, cannot move before the underlying bill.
It should be noted that David is also pointing to stories like the ones in Roll Call and Politico, which are inexplicably reporting that the House still wants to hold off passage of the underlying Senate bill until the Senate actually passes the reconciliation package - i.e. until the reconciliation process is complete. As I noted last night, that is, of course, absurdly incorrect. By the end of last month, the House had already agreed to move forward with the Senate bill first. That kind of blatant misreporting should make us question the rest of the content of the story as well.