Less than two weeks after passing a sweeping coronavirus relief package without any GOP support, Democratic lawmakers are again eyeing ways to bypass Republican votes on legislation for infrastructure, drug pricing and climate policy.
Politico reported on Monday that top Democrats increasingly believe that Republicans are determined to block President Biden‘s agenda. While they’re still publicly courting a bipartisan deal, some Democrats have conceded that they will have to use an arcane procedural tool known as budget reconciliation to pass major bills with their slimmest-possible Senate majority.
The complicated Senate process — used to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan — allows Democrats to circumvent the 60-vote filibuster and advance the measure using their 50 seats, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking any tie. Without reconciliation, which can be used on certain tax, spending and debt limit bills, Democrats would need to secure the support of at least 10 Republicans.
There are limits on what legislation qualifies for reconciliation and how frequently the process can be used — and critics have pointed out that Biden campaigned on uniting the country and ending partisan bickering. Democrats can only use the mechanism one more time before the midterm elections in 2022
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