August 1, 2021

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Senate parliamentarian ruling clears way for Democrats to use reconciliation for infrastructure bill – CBS News

2 min read

The Senate parliamentarian has advised that a revised budget resolution can include reconciliation instructions, opening a path for Democrats to pass spending legislation by a simple majority vote, an aide for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday. Budget reconciliation, a parliamentary procedure to bypass the two-thirds requirement for legislation, was used to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

The determination could be key for Democrats on top issues in a 50-50 Senate. Schumer’s spokesman called the parliamentarian’s determination an “important step forward that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed.”

“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,” the spokesman for Schumer said. “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 ruling paves the way for Democrats to use the reconciliation process for Mr. Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill. Budget reconciliation is usually only allowed to be used once per year, but Schumer had asked the parliamentarian to revise the current budget resolution to allow for another reconciliation process to pass the infrastructure package.

But Democrats still face an uphill battle in passing the bill. Democratic moderate Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia told a radio host that he would oppose the 28% corporate tax hike the president is proposing to help pay for the bill. Manchin said he would leverage his power in the evenly-divided Senate.

“If I don’t vote to get on it, it’s not going anywhere,” Manchin insisted.  “As the bill exists today, it needs to be changed.”  

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