Remember how congressional Democrats used the budget reconciliation process to jam through the most recent coronavirus spending bill without the support of any Senate Republicans?
Now, President Joe Biden appears to be threatening to, once again, use reconciliation to get his multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure proposal through the senate.
“. . . if need be”
Biden made the threat, according to Breitbart, during an interview that he did with MSNBC on Wednesday.
I want to get a bipartisan deal on as much as we can get a bipartisan deal on, and that means roads, bridges, broadband, all — infrastructure,” Biden said.
He continued: “So, we’re going to fight those out. So, I want to know, what can we agree on? And let’s see if we can get an agreement to kickstart this and then fight over what’s left and see if I can get it done, without Republicans, if need be.”
For those unfamiliar with the reconciliation process, what it essentially does is bypass the 60-vote threshold needed to get a bill past the Senate filibuster. It does so by requiring only a simple majority for a bill to pass.
Since Democrats only have a 51 to 50 lead in the Senate, with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, reconciliation is a weapon that they can use to get a measure through the Senate without any Republican support, just as they did with the coronavirus spending bill.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other congressional leaders met with Biden on Wednesday to discuss his infrastructure proposal. McConnell expressed optimism on both sides reaching an agreement on actual infrastructure.
“I mean, we think traditional infrastructure, roads, bridges, ports, water lines, broadband, are things we can agree on,” McConnell said. “To the extent that they start getting off in rather exotic definitions of what amounts to infrastructure, we could have a problem.”
Besides this, McConnell suggested that Republicans can clash with Biden and the Democrats on the issue of how the infrastructure deal is getting paid for. McConnell says that he made it clear to Biden that Republicans will not agree to raise taxes above the levels set by former President Donald Trump in 2017.
Despite the disagreements, McConnell predicted that Biden and the Democrats will not try to use reconciliation to pass the infrastructure bill.
“I think they want a deal this time and I think they want a deal with us, because I don’t think they think they can pass this second effort through a reconciliation package,” McConnell said. “In other words, I don’t think they can get their own ducks in a row, and so they are coming to us, and that’s generally how you reach bipartisan agreements. Plus, the subject matter is pretty popular on both sides of the aisle.”