With the support of President Joe Biden, Democrats in Congress have made it abundantly clear that they are intent on forcing through their partisan agenda without any Republican support.
They made this clear last month with the passing of the 1.9 trillion COVID “relief” bill using the limited process known as budget reconciliation. Now, thanks to a ruling from the Senate Parliamentarian, that same process can be used to pass a $2.2 trillion “infrastructure” bill, Breitbart reported.
Parliamentarian OKs budget reconciliation
Senate Democrats cheered the ruling from the Senate Parliamentarian, who serves as a sort of nonpartisan referee with regard to the legislative body’s procedures and rules.
“The Parliamentarian has advised that a revised budget resolution may contain budget reconciliation instructions,” Justin Goodman, spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said in a statement to NPR.
“While no decisions have been made on a legislative path forward using Section 304 and some parameters still need to be worked out, the Parliamentarian’s opinion is an important step forward that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed,” the spokesman added.
NPR noted that Democrats have yet to introduce any sort of legislative text or details beyond the vague proposal outlined by Biden’s White House on a supposed “infrastructure” bill that hardly deals with actual infrastructure and instead is overwhelmingly focused on fulfilling progressive agenda goals.
The outlet noted that the parliamentarian’s ruling is being interpreted as allowing for multiple uses of the budget reconciliation process — which only requires a bare majority for passage and bypasses the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold — as well as the breaking down of larger packages into smaller pieces.
Budget reconciliation used multiple times
However, the ruling seems incredibly generous toward Democrats, in that the budget reconciliation process is typically limited to taxing and spending purposes and can only be used once per year for each purpose, according to Fox Business.
With regard to Section 304 of the reconciliation rule, which Democrats had sought clarity on, the rule states, “At any time after the concurrent resolution on the budget for a fiscal year has been agreed to pursuant to section 301, and before the end of such fiscal year, the two Houses may adopt a concurrent resolution on the budget which revises or reaffirms the concurrent resolution on the budget for such fiscal year most recently agreed to.”
The Senate Parliamentarian appears to have interpreted that rule to mean that a majority party can go back and revisit a previously passed budget for the current year an unlimited number of times and make certain modifications, such as inserting instructions for future budgets and even different legislation, provided those instructions remain within the confines of taxing and spending.
If this parliamentarian ruling does allow Democrats to make multiple uses of the budget reconciliation process in a single year, then it is conceivable that they will be able to push through multiple pieces of highly partisan legislation without any Republican support.
That would be horrible news for the nation as it greatly undermines the foundational principles of democracy. Furthermore, when the political pendulum inevitably swings back the other way, there is a good chance Democrats will regret the precedent they are setting when the GOP flips it against them to pass their own agenda.
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