Sen. Gregg Changes His Tune On Reconciliation

August 26, 2009 3:45 pm ET

On August 26, 2009, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) claimed Democrats "will basically shoot themselves in the foot" if they use budget reconciliation to pass health care.  However in 2005, Sen. Gregg was an ardent defender of Republican efforts to use budget reconciliation.

Sen. Gregg Claimed Using Budget Reconciliation Would Shoot Dems In The Foot

The Hill Reported:

Gregg said that while "many people are beating the drum" for reconciliation, parliamentary rules would likely result in lawmakers being forced to vote only for tax hikes and spending cuts, and very little actual health policy.

"I don't see that they will use reconciliation, because it's a weapon that will basically shoot themselves in the foot," Gregg said during a phone call into CNBC.


Gregg argued that reconciliation would leave a number of lawmakers too politically exposed for them to risk invoking the tactic. [The Hill, 8/26/09]

In April, Sen. Gregg Took His Criticism Even Further:

"If you're gonna get a good piece of legislation, you're gonna have to have bipartisanship and you're gonna have to have the American people believe that it is fair.  You cannot pass something as significant as health care, and do it in a 'cram down manner,' in a manner where it is totally partisan.  And yet, reconciliation is structured to accomplish just that.  You have to have every stakeholder at the table.  And granted, we're not gonna win all our [sic] points, but we may have some points that are constructive to the debate.  Let us at least be at the table and make those points here on the floor of the Senate through the amendment process..." [Gregg Floor Statement, 4/28/09; emphasis added]

In 2005, Sen. Gregg Defended & Promoted GOP Usage Of Budget Reconciliation

Sen. Gregg: "Is There Something Wrong With Majority Rules? I Don't Think So." As reported by the New York Times: "The record is also replete with past statements by Republicans such as Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the party's leader on budget issues, praising the logic of reconciliation. 'We are using the rules of the Senate here,' Mr. Gregg said in 2005 as he fought off Democratic complaints that reconciliation was wrongly being employed to block filibusters against opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. 'Is there something wrong with majority rules? I don't think so.'" [New York Times, 3/29/09]

Sen. Gregg Endorsed The Reconciliation Process To Open Up ANWR For Drilling Because Bush "Asked For It."  As reported by the Associated Press: "Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H. said it was reasonable to assume ANWR, as the refuge is commonly called, would be part of the budget measure. 'The president asked for it, and we're trying to do what the president asked for,' Gregg said Tuesday after meeting privately with Republicans on his panel." [Associated Press, 3/1/05]