Dems say no to to new "Gang of 14" -- bipartisanship only when GOP has Majority! 

The idea of using reconcilation to ram through something that's as expensive and as unpopular with the American people as health care reform legislation could have disastrous political consequences and create a lot of bad blood in the Senate. That's why Lindsay Graham wants to revive the "Gang of 14" which back in 2005 helped get a compromise on judicial nominees that Democrats were filibustering, rather than have the GOP force them through with the "nuclear option." If they can head off reconcilation somehow, it could prevent a lot of long-term harm, or so Graham argues:

But most of his moderate Democratic colleagues aren’t rushing to R.S.V.P.

Graham said Tuesday that a coalition of Republican and Democratic senators could rescue the Senate from an institutional disaster brought on by the use of the parliamentary maneuver known as reconciliation to finish the health care bill.

“Many Republicans who were ready to pull the trigger on the nuclear option on judges are now glad they didn’t,” Graham said. “This place would have ceased to function as we know it. If they do health care through reconciliation, it will be the same consequence. So if you are a moderate Democrat out there looking for a way to deliver health care reforms and not pull the nuclear trigger, there is a model to look at.”

But some of the moderates who would usually be the first to join such a push scoffed at the idea.

It's worth remembering that participating in the original Gang of 14 didn't exactly endear those Republicans to their base. So I can see where Democrats would have some trepidation. But the fact that Dems aren't even seriously considering this does call into question the narrative that the GOP is the party that doesn't care about bipartisanship.

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Mark Hemingway

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