Senate parliamentarian to let Democrats bypass GOP filibuster on two more bills
By Alexander Bolton - 04/05/21 06:28 PM EDT
The Senate parliamentarian ruled Monday that Democrats can use special budgetary rules to avoid a GOP filibuster on two more pieces of legislation, setting the stage for President Biden's infrastructure agenda to pass in two packages with simple-majority votes.
It's a win for Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) that allows him to pass Biden's $2.25 trillion package by revising the fiscal 2021 Budget Resolution.
Schumer could pass a budget resolution for fiscal 2022 to do a third reconciliation package for the second half of the Biden infrastructure agenda. Or the fiscal 2021 budget could be revised a third time to set up a third reconciliation package.
Top Schumer aides had argued to parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough last month that Section 304 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 allows them to revise the budget resolution for fiscal 2021 to create additional reconciliation instructions, setting up pathways to pass two more bills this year with only a simple majority in the 50-50 Senate.
"The Parliamentarian has advised that a revised budget resolution may contain budget reconciliation instructions. This confirms the Leaderâ€™s interpretation of the Budget Act and allows Democrats additional tools to improve the lives of Americans if Republican obstruction continues," a spokesperson for Schumer said in a statement 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 Parliamentarianâ€™s opinion is an important step forward that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed."
Democrats used the budget reconciliation process earlier this year to pass Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill without any GOP votes, instead of the 60 votes needed to advance legislation in the upper chamber.