Seems that Rahm’s brow beating sessions with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) have paid off. While Conrad last week was adamantly opposed to including reconciliation instructions in the budget, this morning he told reporters on a call that he’s pretty much expecting to get rolled when the bill goes to conference with the House. House and White House Dems want the provision in the budget — just in case health care reform fails to make it through regular order. Budget reconciliation only requires a 51-vote threshold in the Senate, thus avoiding a filibuster.
Here’s Conrad’s odd explanation (what does being Scandanavian have to do with anything?) in an amusing exchange with Roll Call’s Emily Pierce on the call:
Senator, saying prefer — you would prefer not to do reconciliation is not very strong language. It leads me to believe that you’re leaving the door open to signing a conference report that has it in there.
You know, Emily, I’m Scandinavian. What can I tell you? I’m — I don’t control the outcome of the conference. You know? I’m a participant, but I don’t control the outcome. And so — you know, I’ve stated by strong preference is not to have reconciliation. I will argue that position strongly in conference, but I can’t control the outcome. And one thing I’ve learned around here I’m not going to commit to outcomes that I can’t control.