Health Care Reform: Democrats Debate the 'Nuclear Option', Republicans Cry Foul

Republicans recently used reconciliation to push through three large tax cuts -- the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 and the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005.

In total, 14 of the 22 total reconciliation bills -- including three presidentially vetoed pieces of legislation -- were initiated by a Republican-controlled Congress.

"They should stop crying about reconciliation as if it's never been done before," Sen. Reid said on Tuesday. "It's done almost every Congress, and they're the ones that used it more than anyone else."

Republicans counter that it's not the use of reconciliation but rather the way it's being used that's the problem.

"You can say that this process has been used before, and that would be right. But it's never been used for anything like this," Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said at Thursday's White House Summit. "It's not appropriate to use to write the rules for 17 percent of the economy."

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