For months there has been this persistent narrative that President Biden’s agenda is doomed because of the Senate filibuster. But as Palmer Report keeps pointing out, nothing actually works that way. Senate Democrats can modify the filibuster even if they don’t have the votes to completely abolish it. They can also pass some things via reconciliation, which only requires 50+1 votes, and they can change the reconciliation rules as they go.
Now it turns out the Democrats won’t need to change reconciliation rules as thoroughly as they were expecting. The rules appeared to only allow them to pass one more bill through reconciliation this year. But Rachel Maddow reported on-air tonight that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has convinced the Senate parliamentarian that the rules actually allow for three reconciliation bills to be passed.
This means that in addition to the already-passed COVID relief bill and the upcoming infrastructure bill, Biden and the Democrats can pass even more legislation with 50+1 votes this year. Bills need to be at least tangentially related to the budget in order to qualify for reconciliation, but this new ruling means that the Democrats can get all of their major budget-related legislation passed this year.
This is before even getting to discussions about changing reconciliation rules and/or filibuster rules in order to pass non-budgetary legislation. For instance, even Joe Manchin has said that he’s on board with modifying the rules in order to pass voting rights legislation. We’ll be getting into those kinds of rule changes as the year goes on. But as of today the Democrats have already figured out how to pass all of their budget-related agenda. As we told you all along, nothing in the Democratic legislative agenda was ever “doomed” – no matter how many times the least imaginative of pundits insisted otherwise.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report