Republicans claim that even though they used reconciliation in the past, it was not to pass partisan legislation. However, the facts confirm that under Republican-controlled Congresses, reconciliation was not limited to bipartisan bills and many of the reconciliation bills passed with thin margins and along partisan lines, including: the 1995 Balanced Budget Act, 2001 & 2003 tax cuts, 2005 Deficit Reduction Act and 2006 Tax Relief Extensions.
When House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., argued that Republicans had used the same fast-track process to enact major legislation along partisan lines when they were in charge of Congress, Cantor denied it. "There was, in the main, bipartisan support for what was being done through reconciliation in those instances," he said.
Of the 10 occasions between 1995 and 2005 when Republicans were in the Senate majority and used reconciliation to pass bills, seven passed with deep partisan divisions.
In 2005, for example, Republicans used reconciliation to muscle through a deficit reduction bill that restricted Medicaid payments. It passed with 50 Republicans in favor, all Democrats against and Vice President Dick Cheney voting to break a tie — about as divisive as a Senate vote can get. [3/5/2010]