The Senate parliamentarian’s new ruling is a major expansion of reconciliation and will give Democrats more opportunities to pass bills without being filibustered.
The decision, as read by Schumer’s office, represents a major expansion of the reconciliation process that allows passage of some bills with a simple Senate majority. That stretch of reconciliation empowers any party in full control of Washington to theoretically use the tool as often as they want if Schumer decides to follow through on using the budget process to pass legislation like Biden’s infrastructure plan or an immigration overhaul, which he has not yet done.
The parliamentarian’s opinion “is an important step forward that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed,” Schumer’s spokesperson said in a statement Monday.
Democrats are also returning to the pre-2010 norm of marking up reconciliation bills in committees and not putting them together on the Senate floor.
This is a smart move that will wipe out Republican claims that they have no voice in the process. It will also all Democrats to have a say in how bills are put together, which increases the odds of keeping the Senate Democratic caucus unified.
Vice President Kamala Harris could end up being the 51st vote on infrastructure and immigration reform.
One should pay no attention to claims that Democrats aren’t going to use reconciliation right away. The claim is a political strategy to highlight the Republican refusal to cooperate on bipartisan legislation.
Filibuster reform still needs to happen, but this is a good fallback plan to ensure that Senate Democrats will not be stopped.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association