Saturday, February 13, 2010

Your Precedent, Dan Quayle

Via Benen, Dan Quayle says:
They're gonna go to budget reconciliation, which I believe would set a very bad precedent, because essentially -- if they could do it, and I don't know if they can do it, but if they could do it -- what you have done, effectively, is to take away the filibuster in the United States Senate.
Whether it's a bad idea or not, using reconciliation would certainly not set a precedent.  Reconciliation actually goes back to the Carter administration, but it was first used as a way to pass major substantive policies in 1981, during the Reagan presidency. 

Or, more to the point, when Dan Quayle was a newly elected Senator.  I don't know that I have easy access to roll call votes from 1981, but I'm certain that Quayle supported that reconciliation bill.  Presumably, he also supported each of the six reconciliation bills that passed the Senate during 1981-1986, while he was in the majority Republican party.  I have no idea whether he voted for the 1987 reconciliation bill (when his Republicans were in the minority.  Also, whatever his true preferences might have been, he presumably supported George H.W. Bush's deficit reduction package, passed through reconciliation in 1990, when Dan Quayle was Vice President (and another less important one that Bush signed in 1989). 

For all I know, Quayle may have voted for the very first reconciliation bill in 1980, when he was a Member of the House; at any rate, he was in the House at the time.  The big precedent-setter, however, was in 1981, when Dan Quayle was a Republican United States Senator fully supportive (I assume) of the Reagan agenda.

I have to say I'm a little disappointed about one thing...I was hoping that Quayle's big legislative accomplishment, his jobs training program, passed through reconciliation, but no such luck; that one passed as an independent bill.  See Steve Benen for more well-deserved ridicule.

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