With an appeal to think big, President Joe Biden is promoting his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan directly to Americans. The administration is summoning public support to push past GOP opposition lining up against the plan.
Biden picked up help Monday from an unlikely source. The Senate parliamentarian greenlighted a Democratic strategy that would allow aspects of the bill to advance in the 50-50 chamber on a 51-vote threshold, rather than the 60 typically needed.
Getting a bill without bipartisan support would mean Democrats would be forced to use a process through budget reconciliation, which cannot be filibustered. Senate rules say through reconciliation, certain committees can change spending, revenues, or deficits by specific amounts. Each committee writes a bill to achieve its target, and if more than one committee is told to act, the Budget Committee puts the bills together into one big bill, according to Senate rules.
This process was previously used by Republicans who had the majority as a way to maneuver around the filibuster, which ordinarily would require 60 senators to call for a vote. Most notably, Republicans attempted to use the budget reconciliation process in 2017 to pass a “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act. The vote, however, failed by a single vote after Sen. John McCain cast the deciding vote.
The reconciliation process was used by Democrats last month to approve the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.
Republicans oppose Biden's American Jobs Plan as big taxes, big spending and big government. The White House says Biden is open to their ideas, but he is also pushing ahead.