US Senators decided that Democrats may use a procedural tool known as reconciliation to pass more laws this year, a spokesman for Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said, which could clear the road for infrastructure bills without the Republican support.
Schumer’s spokesman Justin Goodman said that Democrats had not decided whether to use reconciliation, which they used to pass the newly-elected President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief package last month without the support from Republican lawmakers.
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But Monday’s verdict by Parliamentary Senate Elizabeth Macdonough means they can do it only with a simple majority in the upper chamber by treating the move as the revision of the budget law. Doing this would bypass the potential of the Republican filibuster, in which the proposed law will need 60 votes to pass. The current Senate is divided into 50-50 between the Democratic caucus and the Republican. Still, the Democrats have control over Congress’s upper chamber as Vice President Kamala Harris holds the tie-breaking vote.
“Parliamentary opinion is an important step forward that the main route is available for Democrats if needed,” Goodman said. Biden last week proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which the Republican lawmakers stated they would oppose.
Biden said he wanted to negotiate the size with parliamentarians from both parties. Yet, President Biden would be willing to push through infrastructure bills without supporting the Republican parliamentarians in the absence of a bipartisan agreement, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Sunday. The Senate minority leader Republican Mitch McConnell said last week that Biden’s plan would raise taxes and increase debts, and he vowed to fight it “every step.”
Democrat Senator Ron Wyden, chair of the Chamber’s Finance Committee, said he was happy with the parliamentary decision. “Americans want a brave action to overcome many challenges, and our country Democrats now have more options to overcome Republican obstruction and finish something,” he said.
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