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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

 5:53 PM 

GOP lashes out at Feingold over reconciliation

Republicans are jumping on U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold for indicating a willingness to consider the use of reconciliation to pass health care reform.

Feingold, D-Middleton, has previously criticized the use of reconciliation, which only requires a majority vote in the Senate rather than the 60 needed to break a filibuster, to pass bills unless they are primarily aimed at reducing the deficit.

Senate Dems are now considering that option since their majority has dropped to 59-41 with the election of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts. So long as they could get 50 votes to support the bill, Vice President Joe Biden could cast the tie breaking vote to push the legislation through.

"Reconciliation was intended to be used to reduce budget deficits," Feingold said in a statement. "It isn't appropriate to use it to move wide-ranging health care reform measures, such as the bills passed by the House and Senate. But I am open to using reconciliation to enact provisions that are targeted specifically at reducing budget deficits."

State GOP chair Reince Priebus accused Feingold of flip-flopping on the issue.

"After 17 years in office, Feingold's doublespeak is catching up to him. He can no longer maintain the maverick facade he's worked so hard to cultivate," Priebus said in a statement.

GOP challenger Terrence Wall accused Feingold of ignoring Wisconsin opposition to the bill.

"Instead of looking for ways to railroad unpopular legislation through Congress, he should be looking for ways to jumpstart our economy and create jobs," Wall said in a statement.


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