Biden Economic Plan Gets Boost From Senate Procedural Ruling
(Bloomberg) -- The prospects for President Joe Biden’s economic agenda could be enhanced by a ruling from the Senate parliamentarian that opens the door to passing multiple additional bills this year without any Republican support.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday that Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has ruled Democrats could enact another reconciliation package by revising the budget blueprint the Democratic Congress adopted earlier this year.
The ruling “allows Democrats additional tools to improve the lives of Americans if Republican obstruction continues,” said the spokesman, Justin Goodman.
Goodman said no decisions have been made on how to move Biden’s agenda, but called the decision nonetheless “an important step forward” and “that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed.”
Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, praised the rulling. ”The American people want bold action to address our country’s many challenges, and Democrats now have more options to overcome Republican obstruction and get things done,” he said in a statement on Monday evning.
Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed using the budget reconciliation process, which bypasses the 60-vote rule required to pass most legislation in the Senate.
The president’s $2.25 trillion package has been dismissed out of hand by Republicans led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has argued it’s too costly and would require huge tax increases.
But even with the reconciliation tool available, Biden would still have to keep on board all 50 senators who caucus with Democrats in the 50-50 Senate, with Joe Manchin of West Virginia already insisting on changes.
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