Republicans running Congress have promised to use every weapon in their arsenal to take down President Barack Obama’s health care law.
But now some are questioning whether to use the congressional budget process to derail the 2010 law or save the special step for more traditional purposes like cutting spending or overhauling the tax code. A potentially divisive debate between tea party forces and GOP pragmatists looms.
At issue is an arcane process known as budget reconciliation. It’s the only filibuster-proof option available to Republicans, who control the Senate with 54 seats but must still muster 60 votes to pass other legislation.
Senate precedents limit the number of reconciliation bills — one for taxes, one for spending and one to raise the government’s borrowing cap — and so a major debate has begun among Republicans over what to put in it.