Castro Care Plot


The Congressional Budget Office, struggling under the weight of so much number crunching, didn’t get numbers to congressional socialists yesterday on their latest, top secret reform legislation. The vote is now scheduled for Sunday morning.

As a result, the vote was moved, allowing the promised 72 hours to view the legislation online.

Another subplot to the Castro Care plot is the Republican plan to embrace reconciliation, and to use its idiosyncrasies to undermine house efforts to modify the senate bill.

The bill must meet six different tests, such as requiring every element to affect the budget in a significant way.

Democrats in the house hate the senate legislation that they’ll be voting to make into law, and are only doing so on the promise that it will be modified through legislation that they’ll pass, and then send on to the senate for passage. The senate will do so using reconciliation, which allows budget measures to pass on 51 votes, excluding the chance of filibuster.

The first involves points of order. Republicans can raise budget points of order — arguing, for example, that the bill does not comply with the chamber’s pay-as-you-go rules.

The GOP in the senate is trying to scare house members by promising that the reconciliation bill, even if passed, will not resemble what they sent over.

But the bigger weapon is the Byrd Rule, named after Sen. Robert W. Byrd (D-W.Va.), which prohibits lawmakers from including anything “extraneous” in the bill.

The house Dems are particularly nervous about making sure the tax on Cadillac health plans can be delayed, a demand of their labor partners, but the senate opposition is targeting that modification.

The reason is that the proposed changes to the so-called Cadillac tax could violate the Byrd Rule’s prohibition on making changes to Social Security. Republicans say that, according to reports from the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation, part of the deficit savings over the next 10 years stems from increased Social Security revenues generated by the Cadillac tax, which was supposed to start in 2013.

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