Senate Republicans are poised to reach deep into the rule book to help pass healthcare legislation if an upcoming decision regarding reconciliation doesn't go their way, Roll Call reported.
At issue is whether the Parliamentarian rules that the House's bill — American Health Care Act — meets reconciliation standards for deficit reduction levels, Roll Call reported.
Even though Senate Republicans are writing their own bill, they still need to introduce the AHCA in order to amend it. If the Parliamentarian rules that the AHCA does not meet reconciliation standards, the Senate would need 60 votes instead of 51 to advance it.
In that event, Roll Call reports Republicans are considering skirting the Parliamentarian's decision by citing a rule in the Congressional Budget Act which would give authority to the chair of the Budget Committee to determine reconciliation.
And that person would be Sen. Michael Enzi, the Wyoming Republican.
"Final decision on the score rests with the majority Senate Budget Committee chairman, but it has to be within reason, I can't just pick a number out," Enzi told Roll Call.
Claiming jurisdiction would set a dangerous precedent and cause Democrats to howl.
"It is the Parliamentarian's office that determines whether or not a reconciliation bill is in compliance with the rules of the Senate. This is not a function of the chairman of the Budget Committee," Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., ranking member on the Budget panel was quoted by Roll Call earlier this month.
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