A decision by Senate lawmakers to allow Democrats to advance more reconciliation packages this year is a shift that gives the Senate majority leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer From steel to fiber, libraries are American infrastructure When it comes to the Iran nuclear deal, what should a moderate Democrat do? Weapons advocates welcome the Biden funding plan, but say more needs to be done (DN.Y.) several paths to move forward President Bidenagenda.
Schumer will at least be able to use budget voting rules to circumvent Republican filibusters twice more this year – just as he did to pass Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion US rescue plan last month by a 50-49 vote.
Schumer now has the flexibility to promote Biden’s infrastructure spending and tax reform goals in two separate packages and also to raise the federal debt limit by the end of the year.
It eases the pressure to get rid of the filibuster – something that Schumer does not have 50 votes to do – and means the progressive grassroots is likely to get more of what it wants from the Senate as long as Schumer can keep his Democratic senators united.
“This cuts a whole new cloth here,” said Bill Hoagland, a veteran senator from the Senate who is now senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Republicans repeatedly used the filibuster to block former President Obama’s agenda during his first six years in office when McConnell was the minority leader. They were able to do that, even though Democrats had 59 seats in the Senate for much of Obama’s first two years in office.
With just a soft majority in the Senate and Vice President Harris breaking ties, it looked like it would be difficult for Biden to move big legislation without compromising with Republicans.
But on the first big piece of business – the coronavirus aid package – Biden was not allowed to win Republican votes after they offered him a proposal less than a third of what he wanted to spend.
Monday’s new decision means Schumer and Biden can use the same budget rules to move at least two major packages more this year, something that could help them fulfill their promises to bring change to Washington.
Schumer’s spokesman hailed the MP’s decision on Monday as “an important step forward”, while a Democratic aide said it sends the signal that Schumer and Democrats can get around the GOP.
“Reconciliation is a great way to get around having to lift filibusters,” the assistant said.
The Senate’s democratic election meeting has not yet decided how it will proceed with the new room for maneuver, say Democratic aides, but the expectation is that Schumer and speeches Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Lawmakers Fight with Capitol Security After Last Attack Senate MPs to Let Democrats Bypass GOP Filibusters on Two More Bills Bottom Line MORE (D-Calif.) Will revise the 2021 budget decision to create a new reconciliation vehicle to pass Biden’s $ 2.25 trillion Build Back Better infrastructure package.
Revising the budget for 2021 will require both chambers to adopt another simultaneous resolution that requires 15 hours of debate and a vote on the Senate floor.
This path would allow them to move forward on the infrastructure package while they wait for the White House to deliver its 2022 budget request to Congress. The administration’s “thin budget” – a preliminary proposal – is expected on the hill this week.
Revising the 2021 budget will then free the Democratic leaders to adopt yet another budget decision for fiscal 2022 to set the stage for a third reconciliation proposal to pass the second half of Biden’s infrastructure agenda.
The second part will be focused on social needs such as expanded childcare, free community college, universal kindergarten, a permanent tax deduction for children and other top priorities in their liberal wing.
Democratic aides say proposals to strengthen the 2010 Affordable Care Act – Obama’s signature signing – and to lower the cost of prescription drugs are also candidates for future reconciliation packages.
The MP’s decision on Monday is a victory for the Democratic leader because it allows him to keep the first infrastructure package more focused on traditional infrastructure priorities such as motorways, bridges, ports and transport systems that are more likely to secure support from moderate Sens. Joe ManchinJoe Manchin The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden, McConnell Agrees on Vaccines, Clash over Infrastructure Manchin Asks CDC to Investigate HIV Outbreak in West Virginia Senate MPs to Let Democrats Bypass GOP Filibusters on Two More Bills MORE (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten CinemaKyrsten SinemaSinema defends filibuster: ‘The solution is for senators to change their behavior’ Filibuster can be conquered: I know – I helped do it Biden risks first big fight with progressive MORE (D-Ariz), both of which are opposed to dropping the filibuster.
Democratic leaders also hope the first tranche of infrastructure spending can even get a few Republican votes, which would give Biden a greater bipartisan performance and a chance to say he has restored some courtesy to Washington.
This result, however, looks questionable, as Republicans feel stung by Democrats’ signals that they will move without them. Biden has argued that a bill could be bipartisan if opinion polls show Republican voters backing it, even if not a single GOP legislator votes for it. GOP legislators see things differently.
Still, some Democratic policy experts hope the lawmaker’s decision could provide an incentive for at least some Republicans to help work out the details of Biden’s first infrastructure package.
“If Democrats are really capable of moving at least one more bill of reconciliation, Republicans will eventually have to make a choice if they just want to complain about it or actually try to get to the table,” said Jim Kessler, a former Schumer. assistant. who is now executive vice president of politics at Third Way, a Democratic think tank.
Another Democratic aide said the MP’s decision was in fact a warning to the Senate minority leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden, McConnell agrees on vaccines, clashes over infrastructure The Republican battle with MLB intensifies Biden wants lasting impact on the courts MORE (R-Ky.) And other Republicans that they will be able to move the president’s agenda even if GOP senators refuse to support it.
“It’s a warning shot over the bow that Republicans can not keep us in a place with absolute obstacle,” the assistant said. “They’re actually in the minority, and they’re going to have to suffer in the minority the same way we did.”
Another potential benefit of dividing Biden’s infrastructure agenda into two is that it allows democratic leaders to postpone actions on the ambitious social agenda that progressives want to continue with traditional infrastructure – such as free community college.
The risk of consolidating all the party’s infrastructure priorities into one bill is that it may collapse under its own weight, especially if centrist Democrats like Manchin see the popular-focused infrastructure proposals that stretch the definition of infrastructure too far.
“It would be much more complicated, much less likely to get support,” Hoagland said of the prospect of trying to pass Biden’s entire infrastructure agenda in a bill.
Legislators must also raise the federal debt limit, which expires on July 31 this year. At this point, the Treasury is expected to invoke “extraordinary measures” to extend the country’s lending authority for a few more months, but the issue will have to be addressed by Congress before the end of the year.
The Democratic president must now decide what it will do in essence and then, together with the parliamentarian, decide whether these priorities are in line with the Senate’s Byrd rule, which sets the parameters for what can be adopted by only 50 votes in the budget vote.
Democratic and Republican leaders still have to sue Senate lawmakers over what may be included in future reconciliation proposals.
A spokesman for Schumer said Monday that “no decisions have been made on a legislative path forward” and that “some parameters still need to be worked out.”