Senator Admits Democrats Will Use Procedural Tactic To Pass Infrastructure Bill Without Republicans

(Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Democratic Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin admitted Monday that Democrats will pass a future infrastructure bill through the budget reconciliation process.

“Ultimately, it’s going to be put together similar to how the rescue plan was put together. It’s gotta be, at the end of the day. You’re most likely going to have to use reconciliation… The Republicans will [only] be with you to a point,” Cardin said on a C-SPAN hot mic.

Cardin appeared with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Democratic Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen at a United Parcel Service facility in Maryland that is serving as a COVID-19 vaccine distribution hub.

The budget reconciliation process allows the Senate to pass legislation via a simple majority vote, avoiding the possibility of a filibuster. The Byrd Rule prevents “extraneous matter” as defined by the Budget Act from being passed through reconciliation, with the Senate Parliamentarian ruling on what is considered extraneous. After the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that a $15 minimum wage was extraneous to the American Rescue Plan, many House Democrats called on Vice President Kamala Harris, the Senate’s presiding officer, to overrule the Parliamentarian. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Blasts Senate Parliamentarian’s Minimum Wage Decision)

Democrats are considering a new infrastructure package that would center renewable energy. President Joe Biden met with union leaders on Feb. 17 to discuss the package. As chair of the Senate Small Business Committee, Cardin would play a key role in drafting legislation. West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has said that he will insist on Republican input for any infrastructure legislation. “I am not going to get on a bill that cuts [Republicans] out completely before we start trying,” he said on March 7.