Even though we are past Election Day, there is still uncertainty over the next stimulus package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, suggests she has a legislative tactic – the budget reconciliation process – to fast-track the coronavirus stimulus package and checks.
Using legislative tactic to get approval for coronavirus stimulus checks
On Monday, Pelosi said she could use the budget reconciliation process in an attempt to pass the stimulus package, as well as enhance Obamacare.
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“We’ll almost certainly be passing a reconciliation bill, not only for the Affordable Care Act, but for what we may want to do further on the pandemic and some other issues that relate to the well-being of the American people,” Pelosi said, according to Politico.
Democrats, however, can move forward with this process only if they control the White House, as well as both houses. As per the election predictions, Democrats are likely to retain control of the House. They are also expected to win a slim majority in the Senate if they win at least four seats. This would give them the full control of Congress.
However, a Democratic majority in the Senate is unlikely to cross 60 threshold votes needed to pass legislation. This could mean Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, could easily block the bills passed by the House Democrats. But, Democrats could still pass the bill using a legislative process, called budget reconciliation.
As per Legislative rules, the lawmakers can pass a spending package in the Senate once a year with a simple majority vote. Such a rule nullifies the requirement of the 60-vote majority, or the minority party's filibuster powers.
Budget reconciliation process - a popular tactic
If Democrats go ahead with the budget reconciliation process to pass the coronavirus stimulus checks, it would not be the first time in the last decade that lawmakers used this legislative process.
In 2010, Democrats used the same tactic to come up with the Affordable Care Act. Republicans, in 2017, used the same method to pass Trump's tax reform law. GOP leaders also tried to repeal ObamaCare using the reconciliation process. However, defections in their own ranks thwarted the attempt.
Talking about the status of the next relief package, almost all expect the approval to come in the lame-duck session. President Donald Trump last week told reporters that he would come up with the “best ever” stimulus package post-election.
Pelosi is also optimistic on the stimulus package after the election. Pelosi told MSNBC that she expects to have “something at the start of the new presidency.”
McConnell, however, wants the lawmakers to consider the relief bill early next year. "I think that'll be something we'll need to do right at the beginning of the year," he told on Hugh Hewitt's radio program last week.