Senate Parliamentarian Faces Tough Healthcare Decision

Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin could get pushed out if Democrats don't like his choice.

By SHARE

By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Alan Frumin is the Senate parliamentarian. For now. Facing the possibility that he'll have to decide what elements of the Democrats' healthcare plan the Senate can consider, he might find himself meeting the fate of several who preceded him: being fired for not going along with the majority. Robert Dove, the last guy to have the job, was ousted by the GOP in 2001 because he made a decision then Republican leader Trent Lott didn't like. The chore: Frumin is the referee who decides if elements of the bill actually have a budget impact as required when considering a bill under "budget reconciliation." That's when just a majority of senators—not the standard 60 supermajority—can cut off a filibuster and move to a vote. "It's not fun, but he knows how to do it," says Dove.

Want your Whispers first? Check out U.S. News Weekly.