The parliamentarian’s opinion “is an important step forward that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed,” Schumer’s spokesman said in a statement Monday.
If he does proceed down that path, Schumer’s never-before-tried maneuver is sure to draw complaints from Republicans, who could weaponize the budget process themselves if they regain majorities in both chambers and the White House.
Schumer had asked the parliamentarian for permission to revisit the fiscal 2021 budget resolution that Democrats already deployed to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package, hoping to unlock a second attempt at reconciliation. If Democrats choose to reuse that budget measure, they’ll have at least three — and possibly more — opportunities to use reconciliation to pass a host of their priorities before the midterm elections.
Perhaps the biggest reason why Democrats may not want to use the procedure over and over again is the sheer pain inflicted by a process that forces members to spend hours upon hours on the floor in both chambers, in addition to two Senate voting marathons in which anyone can force a roll-call vote on any amendment of their choice.
While Democratic leaders haven’t officially decided to exclude Republicans in pursuit of Biden’s infrastructure ambitions, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed that none of his 50-member GOP conference would support Biden’s new spending bill. Without Republican votes, Democrats must rely on lockstep support from within the caucus, which is far from guaranteed.
For example, Biden has promised to fully pay for that package over the next 15 years with a panoply of tax increases — assuming the hikes aren’t rolled back in the years to come. That includes boosting the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, up from 21 percent. But at least one moderate Democrat — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), has already signaled that he wants a lower corporate rate.