'A painful, painful process': Dems' new budget gambit comes with big risk

Winning the green light for a second reconciliation run this year could encourage the current democratic majority, as well as any party with every lever of government power, to strengthen their priorities after party-political roadblocks through a process that is supposed to be a strenuous legislature .

“This is not an easy trick,” said Zach Moller, assistant business director for the Third Way think tank. “It’s a painful, painful process that will take a long time.”

Should the MP say yes to Schumer, the reconciliation could technically be used as often as a majority party in the Senate would like, provided it also holds the House and the White House. The main reason Democrats may not want to use the process over and over is the sheer toil of a process that forces members to stay grounded in both chambers for hours, in addition to two Senate voting marathons that anyone can attend Force a roll-call vote on any change in their election.

“If this is allowed, it will restrict the process,” said Möller. “Because the Senate’s ground time is incredibly valuable.”

More reconciliation also means that parliamentarians have more opportunities to fuel important pieces of Democratic legislation if they do not comply with the arcane rules that guide their way to a filibuster-safe passage. For this and other reasons, Democrats recognize that reconciliation does not serve to overturn the filibuster, the 60-vote threshold for passing most of the bills that seeks to kill their left flank for good.

“You don’t want to do business all the time about reconciliation,” said a House Democratic legislature who openly discussed his party’s dilemma on condition of anonymity.

“The Senate is totally messed up,” added this Democratic legislature. “The Senate has to figure out how to be an effective legislature, and that is the bottom line.”

The Democrats used a budget resolution for the current fiscal year to pave the way for Biden’s massive pandemic relief bill, which allowed them to pass the measure by a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate. Now Schumer is asking the Senate MP if he can revise this budget resolution in the hope of using another grueling round of reconciliation to pass Biden’s infrastructure package.

It is far from clear whether the MP will approve the New York Democrat’s motion, which has never been attempted before. A start would likely frustrate Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who alluded to Schumer’s parliamentary request during an event on Monday in Kentucky. McConnell noted that Democrats appear to be planning to exclude Republicans from the infrastructure talks – an area members of both parties said could be ripe for multi-aisle collaboration.

“Unfortunately, it looks like it’s not going in the direction I was hoping for,” said McConnell. “My advice to the administration is: if you want to do an infrastructure bill, let’s do an infrastructure bill. Let’s not change that.” in a massive effort to raise taxes on businesses and individuals. “

Schumer’s move isn’t necessary either – Democrats can use a budget resolution for the next fiscal year in the coming weeks to facilitate reconciliation for Biden’s infrastructure plan, which he will unveil in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Thanks to the budget measure for the budget year 2023, they will be able to make another attempt at reconciliation before the mid-term elections next autumn. This means that Democrats have at least three chances of using the budgetary process before the next election if they could lose their narrow majorities in the House or Senate.

Another bite in this year’s budget without having to write a new resolution would of course still give Schumer’s party a boost.

Federal law doesn’t seem to limit the number of times a party can “spark reconciliation by revising the same budget resolution,” tweeted Josh Caplan, a former Democratic Hill employee who worked on budget and spending issues and is now with AcademyHealth.

“If they hate themselves enough, they can revise the budget monthly to come up with new voting instructions,” Caplan tweeted. “As always, it’s better to just destroy the filibuster.”

Schumer’s game of reconciliation increases the number of bills a filibuster can bypass, but it is no substitute for removing the 60-vote threshold that stands in the way of several democratic priorities. Many of these stalled bills, such as voting rights, could not be passed with the so-called Byrd rule restrictions, which limit the possibilities of reconciliation legislation.

For example, the Senate MP last month repealed a provision that would raise the hourly minimum wage in Biden’s Covid aid package to $ 15 by 2025. Moderates are now looking for another way to save the pay rise.

A Schumer adviser said the Democrats hadn’t made a final decision on using the reconciliation for Biden’s infrastructure and employment package.

“Schumer wants to maximize his ability to allow Senate Democrats multiple avenues to advance President Biden’s rebuilding agenda if Senate Republicans attempt to obstruct or water down a bipartisan deal,” the aide said.

Several other senior Democrats said the next steps in the process are likely to remain pending the MP’s decision. This Senate office, which keeps its businesses unusually closed, has no specific deadline to issue a decision, although several senior advisors expect it to be within weeks. From there, the Democrats will decide whether to proceed with Schumer’s approach and which priorities to address first.

When asked about Schumer’s plan on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “The White House and the president will pass the mechanism of the bill to Leader Schumer and other leaders of Congress.”

Schumer’s request to recycle the final process of budget reconciliation left some lawmakers and employees scratching their heads – without realizing that such a novel approach was even possible.

“I have read the text of this section [of the law] It seems perfectly okay to do this, ”said the House Democrat legislature. “I didn’t know it was ever there.”

Sarah Ferris and Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.

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