Since its early uses in the early 1980s, the budget reconciliation process has played an important role in how the U.S. Congress legislates. Because the procedures protect certain legislation from a filibuster in the Senate, the reconciliation rules both shape, and are shaped by, the upper chamber in significant ways. After providing a brief overview of the process, I discuss first how partisanship in the Senate has affected the use of the reconciliation procedures. Next, I describe two sets of consequences of the contemporary reconciliation process, on negotiation and on policy design. I conclude with some observations about the relationship of reconciliation to the prospects for broader procedural change in the Senate.
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