- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer may have found a way to pass another bill via reconciliation this year.
- Democrats were thought to have one more use of reconciliation, but Schumer may have found a third instance.
- The move comes as President Biden prepares to announce a two-part infrastructure package.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer may have found a way to use reconciliation more than expected.
Reconciliation is a Senate process that is governed by strict rules and is typically used once per fiscal year. Democrats used it to pass the $1.9 trillion stimulus and were preparing to use it again to pass the forthcoming infrastructure package, reported to be worth up to $4 trillion. However, President Joe Biden is rolling out that package in two parts, as widely reported, and perhaps unrelatedly, Schumer is exploring just how many times Democrats could use reconciliation in 2021.
Per a Schumer aide, the matter could come down to Section 304 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Top policy aides recently argued to the parliamentarian that this section - which focuses on revising budget resolutions - could allow for at least one more use of reconciliation in fiscal year 2021. Democrats would just have to revise the budget resolution to unlock additional reconciliation. Axios first reported on the push from Schumer.
Schumer's office did not respond to Insider's request for additional comment on whether this exploration has any connection to a forthcoming infrastructure package.
There's been no final decision on this strategy, the aide said. Absent further use of reconciliation, Biden's ambitious legislative plans will likely founder on a Republican filibuster.
Both reconciliation and the filibuster are hot topics in Washington
Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate from West Virginia who represents one of the harder votes Schumer has to corral for a large package, has said he wouldn't back a follow-up bill that lacks Republican support, and suggested he wouldn't support passing one through reconciliation. But the upcoming infrastructure package - Biden's follow-up to the $1.9 trillion stimulus package - will reportedly come in two parts and contain major tax increases, something that Republicans probably won't support.
Some Democrats have also called for an end to the filibuster altogether, although Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate would enter into a "nuclear winter" if that happens. Manchin has also signaled his opposition to ending the filibuster.
Ultimately, per the aide, "Schumer wants to maximize his options to allow Senate Democrats multiple pathways to advance President Biden's Build Back Better agenda if Senate Republicans try to obstruct or water down a bipartisan agreement."