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Reconciliations for everybody!


This is interesting:

The news is a bit of a surprise, and it has major ramifications for what happens to the Biden administration’s legislative agenda: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office announced Monday that the Senate Parliamentarian has agreed that the budget reconciliation process can be used again this fiscal year.

Schumer had earlier promoted the theory that under the Congressional Budget Act, a revision of a budget resolution could authorize a second reconciliation bill just like the first authorized in the original resolution. Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has concurred. So: as a follow-on to enactment of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget resolution and the reconciliation bill it authorized (a.k.a. Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief and stimulus bill), Congress can now pass a revised budget resolution and then a second reconciliation bill, perhaps encompassing some or all of Biden’s American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal. Like the first reconciliation bill, the second can be passed by a simple Senate majority without the possibility of a filibuster – i.e., by Democrats alone, assuming they all vote together.

This also means that Biden and Democrats will have a third or possibly even a fourth bite at the reconciliation apple this calendar year, since once they are done with FY 2021 legislation (available to them because the last Congress did not pass a budget resolution at all), they can pass a FY 2022 budget resolution and presumably authorize first one and then another reconciliation bill then as well.

Evidently, this is still a limited reform — passing voting rights legislation is going to require a more direct attack on the filibuster, and I don’t know if that will happen. But knowing there will be multiple more kicks at the reconciliation apple will make it easier to pass particular bills; the Dem leadership won’t have to try to cram in everything at once.

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