Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has ruled that Democrats are allowed to add revisions to the fiscal 2021 budget resolution they used to pass their COVID-19 relief package through reconciliation last month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office reported on Monday evening, giving him an extra opportunity to bypass the filibuster this year.
Schumer’s office applauded MacDonough’s decision in a statement.
“The Parliamentarian has advised that a revised budget resolution may contain budget reconciliation instructions,” a spokesperson for the Democratic leader said. “This confirms the Leader’s interpretation of the Budget Act and allows Democrats additional tools to improve the lives of Americans if Republican obstruction continues.”
The decision is “an important step forward that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed,” the spokesperson noted.
Budget reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority to pass, is the only means through which Democrats can get their agenda through the Senate without running into a wall from the GOP enabled by the filibuster, a procedure that effectively requires legislation besides reconciliation to reach 60 votes.
Finding ways to circumvent the filibuster is particularly crucial for President Joe Biden’s sweeping $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, which already faces full obstruction by Senate Republicans: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said the proposal “not going to get support from our side” and vowed to fight it “every step of the way.”