Congress

Schumer Says Senate Could Pass an Additional Bill Without GOP Votes

Jonathan Ernst | Pool | Reuters
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's office says the Senate parliamentarian has ruled the chamber can use budget reconciliation an additional time to pass legislation without Republican votes.
  • Democrats will now have three opportunities to approve a bill without GOP support before the 2022 midterm elections.
  • The party is trying to pass President Joe Biden's more than $2 trillion infrastructure plan, and aims to push through an economic recovery bill after that.

Democrats may have just gotten a boost in getting their agenda through Congress.

The Senate parliamentarian told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that the chamber could use budget reconciliation an additional time to pass a bill with a simple majority, a spokesman for the New York Democrat said Monday. The ruling would give Democrats, who control a Senate split 50-50 by party, three attempts to approve legislation without Republican votes before the 2022 midterm elections.

Democrats have not decided whether to use the third attempt at reconciliation. "No decisions have been made on a legislative path forward" and "some parameters still need to be worked out," but the opinion "is an important step forward," the Schumer spokesman said.

The party has several proposals it could pursue with a simple majority. Democrats will try in the coming months to pass President Joe Biden's more than $2 trillion infrastructure plan — which is facing GOP resistance.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said his caucus would likely oppose the measure due to the price tag and its call to hike the corporate tax rate to 28%. The GOP cut the rate to 21% from 35% in 2017.

Another Republican senator urged the president to slash the infrastructure spending to about $600 billion.

Democrats will also have to resolve issues within their own party. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., said Monday that he opposes a 28% corporate tax rate.

The party will try to pass a separate economic recovery bill after it approves the infrastructure plan. The package, which could include expansions of paid leave and government-run health plans, will also likely face GOP resistance.

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