•What Is Reconciliation? Reconciliation is an optional step of the annual budget process which allows legislation to be approved by 51 votes in the U.S. Senate, rather than the traditional 60 votes necessary to withstand a filibuster. This may also mean 50 votes plus Vice President Biden as the 51st.This process is a shortcut--limiting debate, including floor debate, to only 20 hours.
•The Purpose? Reconciliation was created to streamline Senate rules to make it easier for lawmakers to achieve the spending and tax levels in the budget resolution. Period. It was not created to circumvent the Senate's traditional role as the "world's greatest deliberative body" and its 60 vote requirement in order to ram through what may be the most significant domestic legislation in our history--legislation whose impact goes well beyond the budget.
Reconciliation 101: A "Nuclear" Abuse of Power