The Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that President Joe Biden’s (D) and his fellow Progressive-Democrats’ “infrastructure” bill can, indeed, be effected through reconciliation, if certain steps are taken in the process. The idea is that the bill can be passed as a modification of the existing reconciliation-passed Wuhan Virus “relief” bill passed earlier this year.
One of those steps is the Parliamentarian’s requirement that the infrastructure modification to that prior bill begin anew at the Budget Committee level. This would give the Republicans a chance to block the bill altogether by boycotting the committee, thereby denying Progressive-Democrats a quorum and a vote, thus preventing the bill from being passed out of Committee to the Senate as a whole.
R Street Institute Resident Senior Fellow for Governance James Wallner, though, says that there are workarounds (unidentified by Wallner or the Fox News cite at the link) to the Committee-level blockage.
The other step is forcing the Senate into a vote-a-rama on the bill, during which lots and lots of amendments can be proposed by any Senator and each amendment must be given a roll-call up-or-down vote. Chad Pergram has written—and he’s serious—that
A “vote-a-rama” is a lengthy, arduous process which sometimes consumes an entire calendar day or more.
Wow. A whole day. Worse (here, Pergram isn’t the only one claiming this is an impediment), the vote-a-rama votes would put Progressive-Democrats on the record as supporting this spendiforous bill. Never mind that they do support it, and they’re proud of their support.
What’s missed altogether in this hand-wringing about a vote-a-rama for this bill is the shenanigan the Progressive-Democrats pulled with the vote-a-rama run on that prior Wuhan Virus relief bill. The Senate Majority Leader gets to go last on the amendment proposing and voting-on process.
It didn’t matter how many of the Republicans’ amendments to that relief bill actually got voted up. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D, NY) amendment, the last of them all, was to withdraw all of those approved Republican amendments and restore the relief bill to its original, un-Republican-amended form. Of course, that amendment was voted up strictly unilaterally, along party lines—all those supposedly vulnerable Progressive-Democrat Senators proudly voting on the record with Schumer—with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie breaking vote.
Schumer and Harris will do that with this so-called infrastructure bill. The Parliamentarian’s ruling is no obstacle at all.