[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/04/art.kaine1.gi.jpg caption="DNC Chairman Tim Kaine made his case Friday for using a budget maneuver known reconciliation to pass health care reform."]Washington (CNN) - Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine on Friday made his case for the Senate maneuver known as reconciliation, calling it an "up and down vote."
"The reconciliation process is every bit as much a part of Senate rules as the filbuster is, for example," Kaine said on CNN's "The Situation Room." "And it has been used repeatedly in the last 30 years, mostly by Republicans, but often on health care matters."
Kaine said the reconciliation process, which would allow Democrats to pass a bill with a simple 51-vote majority, has previously been used to pass health care legislation like the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, better known as COBRA.
He also rejected claims that using the tactic would amount to "ramming" a health care bill through the Senate. Reconciliation, Kaine said, would be used to pass a second bill with "financing adjustments."
"The bill has passed the Senate already with 60 votes, so it wasnt rammed through," Kaine said. "In fact it's been played out in slow motion for months, as you know."
Kaine's GOP counterpart, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, appeared on CNN minutes later and said Democrats would pay a serious political price if they move forward with the procedure.
"If they go down this road with reconciliation, then come November there will be whole new set of lawmakers in the land coming to Washington, because the people will speak very loud and clear, and then we will begin to undo the damage that has been put in place by Obamacare," Steele said.
Steele also ridiculed Thursday's bipartisan health care summit, calling it "a death panel for Obamacare."