Look, I’ve bored you guys silly often enough trying to make the rather arcane budget reconciliation rule more easily understandable. I promise, on my mothers soul that I an not going to do that again today. But budget reconciliation just made it a whole lot more likely that not only will Biden have a successful first term, but may allow the Democrats to steamroll in the 2022 midterms much the way they did in 2018.
Regardless of the depth of your knowledge or understanding of the budget reconciliation rule, you already know this. It is an arcane rule that allows a party to bypass once a year the normal Senate rule requiring a cloture vote of 60 to bring a bill to the floor for a vote. Instead, just so long as the bill involves the budget, and the deficit, it can be brought directly to the floor for a 51 vote majority passage.
That is how the Democrats passed the $1.9trillion Covid relief package that put $1400 in every pocket. They used budget reconciliation, without a single GOP vote in either chamber. And Senate Majority Leader Schumer advised early that he was strongly petitioning the Senate Parliamentarian that the Democrats should get a second bite at the apple, since he claimed that the Democrats used an unused budget reconciliation from the previous year to pass the Covid relief act. That would allow them this years reconciliation to pass their Infrastructure bill.
Earlier this evening, the Senate Parliamentarian issued her ruling on Senator Schumer’s request, and her ruling was a neutron bomb dropped right on the heads of the Senate GOP. Not only did she rule that the Democrats could have that second bite at the apple to pass their infrastructure bill, she went on to rule that the Democrats could have two more bites at the apple on top of that one! This opens up a landscape that the Democrats had never even dreamed of seeing.
The Democrats can now go ahead and pass their infrastructure bill under budget reconciliation, something already wildly popular with the public, including Republicans. But after that, they will get two more chances to pass budget/deficit related bills with a simple 51 vote majority.
My feet aren’t even touching the floor right now. This gives the Democrats a chance to propel forward so much more of their progressive agenda, as long as the majority of the bill impacts either he budget or the deficit. For instance, Biden can now push an aggressive Green New Deal agenda dealing with a massive buy in to promote research and development for new technology in batteries, better solar panels and wind technology. And they can use the second bite of the apple to reform and upgrade the health care industry in the United States, finally making Bernie Sanders a happy camper.
I cannot tell you how important this development is. The GOP looks pathetic enough with incumbents trying to take credit for the sudden influx of cash and benefits stemming from a bill that they all voted against. And they’ll look even worse when they come sniveling around trying to take credit for the benefits to their state for an infrastructure bill that they also uniformly opposed. And don’t think that Democratic ads in the 2022 election season won’t highlight that simple fact.
But what if the Democrats pass massive healthcare reform, lowering the age for Medicare to 55 or 60. Opening Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate drug prices directly with drug companies and opening up the Canadian market? What if they go whole hog and offer a national Medicare buy in, which Biden campaigned on? What does the GOP run on then, when they stand in opposition to everything their own voters want?
This is a political gift that only comes once in a lifetime or two. It gives the Democrats incredible power to pass positive, popular legislation, with widespread public support, including Republican voters. But just as importantly, it forces Mitch McConnell and the rest of the reprobates in the Senate caucus to try to determine just how far they want to go in opposing legislation that is popular with their own voters. Suddenly, it’s a brave new world. Don’t touch that dial.
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