A deal made Monday in the Senate to keep the filibuster intact “will play a major role in curbing” President Joe Biden’s agenda, according to Greg Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist for AGF Investments.
An effort to scrap the filibuster failed in the 50-50 Senate Monday as two Democrats — Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — indicated they would not support abolition, “thus keeping alive the rule that 60 votes are needed to cut off debate,” Valliere explained in his Capitol Notes email briefing Tuesday morning. “This means President Biden and his allies will have to move on to Plan B.”
With the filibuster still alive, “many of Biden’s bills will languish — unless they’re tied to budget issues, which would allow a bill to pass with only 51 votes via a process called reconciliation,” according to Valliere. “That provision can be used only twice this year — and it appears that those two bills will be for Covid relief and for infrastructure, supported by tax hikes.”
Climate legislation and overhauls of policing and immigration laws “probably couldn’t be folded into a budget-related bill via reconciliation,” Valliere continued, “which means that an ambitious progressive agenda will face an uphill battle.”
The bottom line, according to Valliere: “We’ll get a Covid relief bill via reconciliation by spring, but it could be significantly less generous than the initial Biden proposal. Potential casualties: massive aid to states and a minimum wage hike.”