A Senate staffer who has been little known outside of Washington is suddenly playing a key role in the health bill process.
Republicans and Democrats have been arguing through comments to the media about whether Alan Frumin, the Senate parliamentarian, has decided what rules should apply if the Democrats use the budget reconciliation process to try to get a health bill through the Senate, and, if so, what exactly Frumin has decided.
Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, is reporting that Don Stewart, an aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the Senate must pass some kind of health bill before Congress can use the reconciliation process to change the bill.
The Huffington Post is quoting an unnamed “Democratic aide” who said that Frumin was misinterpreted,” and other reports indicating that reconciliation could be used without President Obama first having to sign a Senate health bill into law.
Frumin, who could not immediately be reached for comment, has a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a law degree from Georgetown University, according to The Alamanac of the Unelected 2008: Staff of the U.S. Congress. He has spent his career focusing on congressional parliamentary procedure. He was the Senate parliamentarian from 1987 to 1995, then began a second stint as Senate parliamentarian in 2001.