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procedural tools

Senate parliamentarian ruling could clear the way for Democrats to use reconciliation to pass more legislation

The Senate parliamentarian issued an opinion on Monday that could give Democrats more opportunities this year to pass major pieces of legislation without any Republican support, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

"The parliamentarian has advised that a revised budget resolution may contain budget reconciliation instructions," the spokesperson said, adding that this confirms Schumer's "interpretation of the Budget Act and allows Democrats additional tools to improve the lives of Americans if Republican obstruction continues."

Budget reconciliation is a procedural tool that Democrats used last month to avoid Republican filibusters and pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill with a simple majority. Schumer's spokesperson said no decisions have been made yet on whether the tool will be used to pass legislation like Biden's massive infrastructure plan, and "some parameters still need to be worked out," but the parliamentarian's opinion "is an important step forward that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed."