Max Baucus admits that it’s nearly impossible to design a bullet-proof reconciliation bill where every line passes the Byrd rule, and that “minor changes” are expected.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus told reporters today that there may be “one or two” changes to the health care reconciliation bill, meaning it could be sent back to the House for another vote.

“Anything is possible. We’ve constructed this thing so well … maybe one or two but they’re so minor they’re almost not even worth mentioning,” Baucus said.

Any single change in the reconciliation bill, however minor, would force it to go back to the House for another vote. While if the changes are indeed minor, getting 216 votes on it again shouldn’t be too heavy a lift, the entire premise of the Senate leadership whipping against amendments was predicated on the idea of avoiding another House vote. But here’s Max Baucus saying that’s unlikely.

In this case, whipping against amendments that may make the bill more popular seems like a terribly short-sighted strategy.

David Dayen

David Dayen