Senate Democrats Plan To Pass Biden’s $3 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Through Budget Reconciliation
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) is in talks with Senate Democrats planning to pass President Joe Biden‘s new $3 billion infrastructure bill through budget reconciliation, similar to the American Rescue Plan, which passed earlier in March. Even though reconciliation can only be used once a year, Schumer hopes to use a loophole to pass the upcoming bill in a similar way.
Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 says that “at any time after [a reconciliation bill] has been agreed to … and before the end of such fiscal year, the two Houses may adopt a concurrent resolution” to revise the legislation,” meaning that Senate Democrats could introduce their new infrastructure bill as an amendment of the already-passed American Rescue Plan.
The bill in development would round out at approximately $3 trillion split between two bills. The first would focus on infrastructure, manufacturing, climate change measures and expanding access to broadband and 5G Internet. The other bill would create a universal free pre-K program, two-years of free community college, child tax credits and health care subsidies.
Reconciliation is so attractive to Democrats because of the Senate’s silent filibuster. The silent filibuster means that essentially all legislation that goes through the Senate requires 60 votes to become law, not because the law itself requires 60 votes. The law only requires 51 votes. Silent filibusters infinitely stall a bill unless 60 Senators vote to end the filibuster, essentially making legislation require 60 votes.
Budget reconciliation cannot be filibustered, so since Democrats have 50 Senators in chamber and Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties, it is likely the only way to pass legislation against the staunch opposition of Senate Republicans.