April 12, 2021

U.S. Senate Now Needs Only 50 Votes To Pass Infrastructure Package

Last week, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reported that the chamber’s parliamentarian has made a ruling that could allow his party to use budget reconciliation rules to bypass the Senate filibuster for infrastructure legislation. The filibuster requires that legislation have 60 votes in support in order to get a vote on final passage.

In a statement, however, Majority Leader Schumer said “no decisions have been made on a legislative path forward,” but that the ruling is “an important step forward that this key pathway is available to Democrats if needed.”

As Connecting the Dots has reported previously, it is likely that Congress will follow President Joe Biden’s lead and split infrastructure legislation into two parts.

The first part, which would contain more traditional types of infrastructure like funding for bridges and broadband, could proceed on a bipartisan basis. Legislation that includes so-called “human infrastructure” investments, which is more controversial because it expands the traditional definition of infrastructure could pass via reconciliation.

The House, meanwhile, is hoping to pass its version of the $2.25 trillion traditional infrastructure bill by July 4. That chamber is expected to begin hearings on the legislation this week.