Senator Ben Cardin, D-Md., was recently recorded on a hot mic informing Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that Democrats’ reconciliation would “probably” be needed to force an infrastructure package.
At a press conference on Monday, with Buttigieg, Cardin was recorded on a C-SPAN mic claiming that Democrats will “probably have to use reconciliation” to force through an infrastructure package.
Cardin also said to Buttigieg that the infrastructure measure will be created in a “similar” way as the $1.9 trillion relief bill that Biden signed last week.
“In the end, it will be put together like the American Rescue Plan…,” Cardin was recorded saying. “Most probably, we will have to use reconciliation.”
Budget reconciliation is a procedure that got recognition as Democrats sought a way to get their relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, through the Senate and to President Biden’s desk. It lets lawmakers get around filibusters. So 60-votes are not required. All you need is a simple majority to enact whatever bill you put into the reconciliation package.
So, essentially, the Democrats can enact the infrastructure package if they have 51 votes to push the measure through reconciliation — an easier thing for Democrats to accomplish.
Cardin’s hot mic remarks come one week after Congress passed the $1.9 trillion relief package that included more stimulus checks.
Critics of the relief bill say the price was far too great and mocked the bill — like the $350 million to state governments — for not being connected to the coronavirus response.
“Why should we borrow $2 trillion when the virus will soon be over and we’ll return to our normal way of life?” asked GOP Rep. Lloyd Smucker from Pennsylvania.