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Healthcare Bill Ineligible for Reconciliation for Its Soc. Sec. Changes

The House reconciliation bill designed to fix shortcomings in the Senate's healthcare reform legislation cannot legally be considered by the Senate, because it would impact Social Security revenues and therefore is not eligible for the reconciliation procedure.

Former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said Sunday that Democratic leaders were well aware of this fact, but effectively "sandbagged" their members in the House in order to push healthcare reform through Congress.

Reconciliation is designed to pass healthcare reform without bringing it back before the Senate for approval. Sen. Scott Brown's election in Massachusetts means Democrats no longer have the 60-vote majority they need to overcome a GOP filibuster, but they are believed to have the simple majority - 51 votes - needed to pass changes in the Senate via reconciliation.

To get the 216 votes they needed in the House, Democrats promised that aspects of the Senate bill representatives found unpalatable, including the Cornhusker Kickback and other notorious deals, would be "fixed" in the Senate via reconciliation. But Santorum says the House fixes aren't eligible for the reconciliation procedure.

"Here's the problem," Santorum told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren on Sunday evening, "according to the 1974 budget act, if the provisions in the bill affect Social Security revenues, it's invalid for reconciliation."

The House reconciliation measure proposes numerous changes to the Social Security system. Santorum predicted the entire reconciliation measure would "be stricken" in the Senate, if even one provision affects Social Security revenues.

Santorum said, "Mitch McConnell and the Republican leadership have been pleading with [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid to meet with the parliamentarian to get a ruling on this before the House votes. Senate Democrats have refused to meet with the parliamentarian to get a resolution on this issue. So as a result, there's still the open question."

Asked if Senate Democrats were sandbagging House Democrats, Santorum said: "...the Senate truly is sandbagging House Democrats who are voting for this thinking it's going to be fixed, and it's not going to be fixed.

Santorum said the errant attempt at using reconciliation is being done at the behest of the president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

pelosi_celebratesIt will be up to the Senate parliamentarian to determine if the Senate could legally vote on the reconciliation proposals approved by the House.

(pictured)House Speaker Nancy Pelosi celebrates an ethically questionable political coup Sunday night after passage of the Senate healthcare bill. The agreed to reconciliation bill sent to the Senate to fix House member objections may be ineligible for its manipulation of Social Security. 

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