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My understanding is the house tax bill has already passed. If the senate passes their tax bill, from what I've read, the next step is that the leaders of the senate and house will get together to work out any conflicts between the bills, and then send it up to the president for signing.

Here's the thing though, if it's just the leaders hashing out what the actual final bill is, and there's not another vote in both branches of government on what the bill ACTUALLY contains... what is the point of any of this?

If there isn't another vote, Senate/House leaders could just concede to any amendments asked for, and then change them to whatever they wanted during reconciliation before sending it to the president.

Is this seriously how this works?

  • Never watch a sausage being made.... – user4012 Dec 1 '17 at 21:26
  • what if it's polish? @user4012 – Justin Beagley Dec 1 '17 at 21:51
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Is this seriously how this works?

No.

After the reconciliation committee agrees on the final bill, both chambers have to pass it again. Unless one of them agrees to the version of the bill passed by the other. In that case, just the one who had not passed it yet.

As a practical matter though, the reconciliation committee usually includes the legislators most likely to vote against the other chamber's bill. So when they agree on compromise language, it tends to pass both chambers without much issue. For example, that happened with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. They had to modify the bill because it violated the reconciliation rules. So both chambers had to vote on it again.

The big difference with reconciliation is that the Senate doesn't need sixty votes to pass it. Fifty plus the Vice President is sufficient. Or fifty-one without the VP.

In general, any bill must be passed by both chambers with identical versions. If not, one or both chambers must vote again.

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