News Senate gives Biden a big tool to work around GOP filibuster

by Nicholas Martin

“I think it’s disappointing that we’re not able to move forward with a bipartisan approach to fixing our nation’s infrastructure,” said Mitch McConnell. He said Democrats should be able to work with Republicans on other issues. The Senate is expected to vote Thursday on a procedural motion that would allow Biden to bring her proposal for an infrastructure plan for debate and votes in the chamber. The motion needs 60 votes, but the parliamentarian’s ruling gives Biden more flexibility in how she gets there. The parliamentarian has ruled that Democrats can use a budget reconciliation process, which is normally used for tax and spending legislation, to pass legislation that addresses things such as immigration, health care and environmental issues — the same kinds of provisions included in Biden’s plan. That means Democrats could pass parts of her plan with 51 votes rather than 60 — a move that could help them get around obstructionism from Republicans who have vowed to block any tax increase. Democrats are still weighing their options and will decide whether they will support the procedural motion or hold out for more changes in Senate rules or changes by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said he was pleased with the ruling, but stressed his party will continue working on its own ways around Republican obstructionism. “Democrats are not going away,” he said. “We’re going to keep fighting.”

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