“In other words, this new reconciliation package is currently about long-term structural problems,” said Sanders. “Everyone knows our physical infrastructure is breaking down. We know we can create millions of jobs and turn our energy system away from fossil fuels. But we also have to deal with human infrastructure.”
A Democratic adviser familiar with the ruling said the parliamentarian’s feedback was “a good first step”. However, the aide added, “We have yet to work out the details.”
The decision, as read by Schumer’s office, represents a major extension of the reconciliation process, allowing some bills to be passed by a simple Senate majority. This reconciliation route allows any party with full control of Washington to theoretically use the instrument as often as they want if Schumer decides to continue using the budget process to pass laws like Biden’s infrastructure plan or an immigration overhaul, which he hasn’t finished yet.
The parliamentarian’s opinion “is an important step forward that this key path is available to the Democrats when needed,” Schumer’s spokesman said in a statement on Monday.
If he goes down that road, Schumer’s never-before-attempted maneuver is sure to spark complaints from Republicans who could arm the budget process themselves if they regain majorities in both chambers and the White House.
Schumer had asked the MP for permission to reconsider the 2021 budget resolution, which the Democrats had already passed to pass Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion pandemic aid package, in hopes of a second attempt at reconciliation to enable. If Democrats reuse this budget measure, they will have at least three – and possibly more – ways to use the reconciliation to get a variety of their priorities off the ground before the midterm elections.
Perhaps the biggest reason Democrats may not want to re-try the process is the pain caused by a process that forces members to stay on the ground in both chambers for hours, in addition to two Senate voting marathons, in which everyone takes part can force a roll-call vote on any change in their choice.
While Democratic leaders have not officially decided to expel Republicans in pursuit of Biden’s infrastructure ambitions, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed that none of his 50-member GOP conferences would support Biden’s new spending bill. Without Republican votes, Democrats will have to rely on support within the caucus, which is far from guaranteed.
For example, Biden has promised to pay off this package in full with a variety of tax increases over the next 15 years – assuming the increases aren’t rolled back in the years to come. This includes increasing the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28 percent. At least one moderate Democrat, Senator Manchin, has already signaled that he wants a lower corporate rate.
Jennifer Scholtes contributed to this report.