The Senate parliamentarian has allowed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to use reconciliation to ram through additional legislation in a win for President Joe Biden’s agenda.
Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal is now closer to becoming law by process of revising the fiscal 2021 Budget Resolution, which avoids the filibuster and customary Senate debate.
“The Parliamentarian has advised that a revised budget resolution may contain budget reconciliation instructions. This confirms the Leader’s interpretation of the Budget Act and allows Democrats additional tools to improve the lives of Americans if Republican obstruction continues,” Schumer’s office said Monday.
“While no decisions have been made on a legislative path forward using Section 304 and some parameters still need to be worked out, the Parliamentarian’s opinion is an important step forward that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed,” the statement concluded.
The Democrats had already used budget reconciliation to pass the coronavirus package without any Republican support by a 50-49 Senate vote on March 6, when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) used his leverage to hold up the vote to win certain provisions in the budget, forcing Biden’s hand.
Both chambers will now need to pass a concurrent resolution to initiate an additional set of reconciliation instructions. Then the Senate will require 15 hours of floor debate and another long night of vote-a-rama.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said about the ruling that “The American people want bold action to address our country’s many challenges, and Democrats now have more options to overcome Republican obstruction and get things done.”
“I’m pleased by the parliamentarian’s ruling that budget resolutions can be revised, allowing us to consider moving additional bills through the reconciliation process,” he expressed.