Big win for Democrats: Senate parliamentarian to allow additional budget legislation to bypass potential GOP filibuster

Big win for Democrats: Senate parliamentarian to allow additional budget legislation to bypass potential GOP filibuster
The Democratic-majority Senate, led by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, will help to confirm President Joe Biden's nominees and to enact his agenda.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • The Senate parliamentarian on Monday cleared the way for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to use reconciliation again.
  • Reconciliation allows bills to bypass a potential GOP filibuster.
  • This could have implications for President Joe Biden's infrastructure package.

The Senate parliamentarian cleared the way for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to use reconciliation to pass an additional piece of legislation, allowing Democrats to bypass a potential GOP filibuster. The legislation can pass with standard majority votes, instead of two-thirds majority support in the Senate.

Schumer's spokesperson said in a statement that the development, "allows Democrats additional tools to improve the lives of Americans if Republican obstruction continues."
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Schumer's policy aides had argued to Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough that revising the 2021 fiscal year budget could "trigger an additional set of reconciliation instructions," according to Axios. Essentially the move to revisit the 2021 Budget Resolution could spur additional opportunities to vote on budget-related legislation using the simple-majority vote process, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaking vote.
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This could have implications for President Joe Biden's infrastructure package. The move means that Schumer could pass Biden's $2.25 trillion jobs and infrastructure package through a revision of the 2021 Budget Resolution, a process that can also be used to pass the second half of the package, The Hill reported.
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Schumer's reasoning is tied to Section 304 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, which relates to budget reconciliation through budget revision. The Senate Majority Leader's policy aides argued to the parliamentarian that Section 304 would create a window for using reconciliation an extra time in fiscal year 2021.
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In October, the Senate will vote on the 2022 fiscal year budget, potentially presenting Democrats with another opportunity to use budget reconciliation, which by then, could be the third time the process would be used in a year.

There are, however, non-budget-related priorities for the Biden administration that could face stiff GOP resistance with no option for budget reconciliation, such as bills having to do with voting rights, the minimum wage, labor rights, and the Equality Act. And Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia signaled he would not support any bills with no GOP support, nor would he support ending the filibuster, making the road without budget reconciliation trickier for Democrats.
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