President Joe Biden delivers remarks about vaccinations, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Washington. | AP
Republicans still pledge to do all they can to halt President Joe Biden, but an official parliamentarian’s opinion this week is a potential game-changer.
WASHINGTON — With a powerful new tool, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has fresh options for potentially advancing President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package and other priorities past Republican obstruction in the 50-50 split Senate.
Republicans still pledge to do all they can to halt Biden, but an official parliamentarian’s opinion this week is a potential game-changer. It unleashes multiple options for Democrats to advance parts of Biden’s agenda — including immigration and Medicare legislation — with 51 votes in the 100-member Senate rather than the 60 typically needed to move major legislation past filibuster threats.
There has been talk of trying to change the filibuster rules, but that would be a very heavy political lift in the divided and tradition-devoted Senate.
The White House was heartened by the parliamentarian’s ruling but isn’t giving up on support from some Republicans, despite their strong opposition to paying for much of the infrastructure plan with a corporate tax increase. The president, said press secretary Jen Psaki, “continues to believe … that there is a bipartisan path forward.”
However, it is clear that the deep partisan polarization in Washington has led to a new era in legislating. The seasoned policy wonks on Capitol Hill are digging deep into the procedural toolbox to find ways around the gridlock that typically leaves Congress at a standstill.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell chided Biden for partisanship, and declared Tuesday that his side would not be supporting the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package that Biden wants to pay for with the tax hike on corporations.
“For a president who ran as a bipartisan, I haven’t seen that yet,” McConnell told reporters in Kentucky.
McConnell said Biden is a “terrific person I know him well, I like him. We’ve been friends for years. A moderate he has not been.”
While congressional Democrats had already planned on resorting to “budget reconciliation,” a special, budget-linked procedure with a 51-vote threshold to pass parts of Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, the parliamentarian’s ruling opens the door to using it on certain other priorities.
Talks are swirling around an immigration overhaul that could provide a pathway to citizenship for some. There is also discussion about using the process to lower the Medicare retirement age from 65 to 60 and other agenda items.
Schumer’s office said no decisions have been made. Any action still involves wresting consensus from all 50 senators in the Democratic caucus, progressives and centrists alike, which could prove daunting. But spokesman Justin Goodman welcomed the parliamentarian’s opinion as “an important step forward that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed.”
Using the budget rules to pass sweeping legislation on a party line vote is not new. Congress used the budget reconciliation process last month to approve Biden’s sweeping $1.9 …read more
Source:: Chicago Sun Times
GRAMMYS 2021: Watch Doja Cat’s ELECTRIFYING Say So Performance
Doja Cat took fans to the future with an electrifying performance of her smash single ‘Say So’ during the GRAMMYs, which aired Sunday on CBS. For the 25-year-old singer’s debut appearance at the GRAMMYs, she delivered impressive vocals and fierce choreography. ET spoke with Doja on the red carpet ahead of music’s biggest night, where she explained what it felt like to attend her first-ever GRAMMY Awards.