Karl Rove Tweet: Reconcliation "Unprecedented"

March 02, 2010 1:28 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-UT) dishonest op-ed in today's Washington Post is generating quite a bit of pushback, and rightly so.  As Media Matters Action and other blogs have noted, Hatch writes that reconciliation was "designed to balance the federal budget," while overlooking his previous votes for reconciliation bills that dramatically increased deficits.  For example, Hatch supported President Bush's massive tax cuts for the wealthy, which passed through reconciliation in 2001 and 2003. 

Not surprisingly, former Bush adviser turned Fox News commentator Karl Rove is praising Hatch's revisionist history.  Late this morning, Rove posted the following message on his Twitter page:

Rove is knowingly misleading the nearly 115,000 users who follow his tweets.  During the Bush administration, Republicans passed five reconciliation bills, making it difficult to label the use of the procedure "unprecedented."    

One could charitably interpret Rove's comment to mean reconciliation is unprecedented for health care legislation, but that's also a fallacy. As NPR reported, "health care reform and reconciliation actually have a lengthy history." The procedure has been used to pass COBRA (look up the acronym), CHIP, and to implement changes to Medicare. 

Furthermore, the Bush administration's Medicare Part D program also passed by a majority vote.  Reconciliation was only avoided because, unlike the Republicans today, the Democratic minority opted not to filibuster.  The libertarian Cato Institute previously criticized Rove's role in passing that legislation, writing that "Rove convinced, cajoled, and browbeat congressional Republicans" into creating "the largest expansion of the entitlement state since the creation of Medicare itself."