Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Tuesday that Republicans "should stop crying" about the possible use of the parliamentary procedure known as budget reconciliation to pass a health care reform bill.
Reid said reconciliation had been used 21 times since 1981, mostly by Republicans when they were in control of the Senate for the passage of items like the Bush tax cuts. (Here's a handy chart of when the procedure has been used.)
Under reconciliation, Democrats would need a simple majority in the Senate to pass legislation, as opposed to the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.
"They should stop crying about reconciliation as if it's never been done before," Reid said.
Following Senate Democrats' weekly luncheon, Reid said "nothing is off the table" but that "realistically, they should stop crying about this. It's been done 21 times before."
"The question is: Is reconciliation the only way we can do health-care reform?" he said. "The answer to that is no. But I've been told that my Republican friends are lamenting reconciliation, but I would recommend for them to go back and look at history."
"It's done almost every Congress, and they're the ones that used it more than anyone else," he added.
Its taking him longer than any of us wanted or expected, but it seems he is FINALLY starting to sound like a real Majority Leader.