39 GOP senators who think reconciliation is for helping the rich but not everyone else

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Senate Republicans cry partisanship at the idea that Democrats will use the same parliamentary procedures they did.

Now that they are in the minority in the Senate, Republicans are worried that, in their efforts to pass President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, the new Democratic majority might take advantage of a procedural rule that makes it possible for budget legislation to pass without the usual three-fifths supermajority of 60 votes required to pass most laws.

GOP senators are demanding that President Joe Biden drastically slash the relief proposal in the name of "bipartisanship and unity" and that Democrats not use budget reconciliation, which provides for the passage of certain fiscal policies in the house by a simple majority.

GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio told CNN's Dana Bash that using budget reconciliation to pass Biden's proposal "is not in the interests of the Democratic Party. ...it will set President Biden down a path of partisanship that I think will poison the well for other bipartisanship we'll need on so many issues."

However, the vast majority of Republicans in the Senate used budget reconciliation in the past to pass tax cuts that mainly benefited the rich, and even tried to use it to strip millions of Americans of their health insurance.

Senate Republicans have utilized the rule in recent years to pass three tax cuts under George W. Bush and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 under Donald Trump. They also repeatedly attempted to use it to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, but were blocked when Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins sided with the Democrats.

Thirty-nine of the 50 Republicans currently serving in the Senate were there in 2017 when their caucus rammed through the tax bill without a single Democratic vote. The law cut taxes significantly for large corporations and the very rich, while actually raising taxes for 10 million American families. Every single one of the 39 GOP senators voted for it.

Thirty-seven of the 39 also voted for the Obamacare repeal bill, which was also opposed by every Democrat.

Now that Democrats have a narrow majority in the Senate, Republicans are suddenly fans of bipartisan compromise.

"In December, we poured $900B into relief. Congress has passed six bills + allocated ~$4T of relief in the last year–all bipartisan," the GOP Senate caucus tweeted on Monday. "Now Democrats want to cram through another $1.B without any bipartisan support? Let's work together to deliver results."

"If reconciliation is chosen as the COVID legislative vehicle, it will make the Inaugural speech by President @JoeBiden ring very hollow," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Friday, repeating the GOP's frequent complaint that the administration is going back on Biden's call for "unity" any time it does something it doesn't want.

"Reconciliation is a tool that you are able to use. It has to relate directly to the budget. And what the Democrats are talking about doing is, one, using it right off the bat without trying to come up with a bipartisan compromise as we have on COVID-19," Portman said on Sunday. "If you can't find bipartisanship on COVID-19 I don't know where you can find it."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) last week mocked the idea of the majority Democrats enacting Biden's relief proposal as written, tweeting, "Nothing says unity and healing like a partisan budget resolution."

Here are the 39 Senate Republicans who used budget reconciliation to pass legislation when they held the majority.

John Barrasso

The Wyoming senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Roy Blunt

The Missouri senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

John Boozman

The Arkansas senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Richard Burr

The North Carolina senator voted for the Trump tax bill, Obamacare repeal, and the 2005 Bush tax cuts.

Shelley Moore Capito

The West Virginia senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Bill Cassidy

The Louisiana senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Susan Collins

The Maine senator voted for the Trump tax bill and the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.

John Cornyn

The Texas senator voted for the Trump tax bill, Obamacare repeal, and the Bush tax cuts of 2003 and 2005.

Tom Cotton

The Arkansas senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Mike Crapo

The Idaho senator voted for the Trump tax bill, Obamacare repeal, and the Bush tax cuts of 2001, 2003, and 2005.

Ted Cruz

The Texas senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Steve Daines

The Montana senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Joni Ernst

The Iowa senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Deb Fischer

The Nebraska senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Lindsey Graham

The South Carolina senator voted for the Trump tax bill, Obamacare repeal, and the Bush tax cuts of 2003 and 2005.

Chuck Grassley

The Iowa senator voted for the Trump tax bill, Obamacare repeal, and the Bush tax cuts of 2001, 2003, and 2005.

John Hoeven

The North Dakota senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Jim Inhofe

The Oklahoma senator voted for the Trump tax bill, Obamacare repeal, and the Bush tax cuts of 2001, 2003, and, 2005.

Ron Johnson

The Wisconsin senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

John Kennedy

The Louisiana senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

James Lankford

The Oklahoma senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Mike Lee

The Utah senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Mitch McConnell

The Kentucky senator and minority leader voted for the Trump tax bill, Obamacare repeal, and the Bush tax cuts of 2001, 2003, and 2005.

Jerry Moran

The Kansas senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Lisa Murkowski

The Alaska senator voted for the Trump tax bill and the Bush tax cuts of 2003 and 2005.

Rand Paul

The Kentucky senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Rob Portman

The Ohio senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Jim Risch

The Idaho senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Mike Rounds

The South Dakota senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Marco Rubio

The Florida senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Ben Sasse

The Nebraska senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Tim Scott

The South Carolina senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Richard Shelby

The Alabama senator voted for the Trump tax bill, Obamacare repeal, and the Bush tax cuts of 2001, 2003, and 2005.

Dan Sullivan

The Alaska senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

John Thune

The South Dakota senator voted for the Trump tax bill, Obamacare repeal, and the 2005 Bush tax cut.

Thom Tillis

The North Carolina senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Pat Toomey

The Pennsylvania senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Roger Wicker

The Mississippi senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

Todd Young

The Indiana senator voted for the Trump tax bill and Obamacare repeal.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke about the use of the rule in the past: "There is nothing about the process of a budget resolution or reconciliation, for that matter, that forecloses the possibility of bipartisanship. ... What has made recent reconciliation efforts by Senate Republicans so partisan is not the process, but the legislation they sought to pass."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.