According to a new report from Axios, President Joe Biden is prepared to see the elimination of the filibuster rule in the Senate in order to clear the way for bold legislation to constructively shape the future of the United States. The filibuster rule means that at least 60 Senators have to agree before moving to a vote on most legislation in the 100-member chamber. Democrats currently control the Senate, but the filibuster rule means that most proposals need well over a simple majority to move forward, which seriously stifles legislative efforts.
On Wednesday, Axios reported in part as follows:
‘President Biden recently held an undisclosed East Room session with historians that included discussion of how big is too big — and how fast is too fast — to jam through once-in-a-lifetime historic changes to America. The historians’ views were very much in sync with his own: It is time to go even bigger and faster than anyone expected. If that means chucking the filibuster and bipartisanship, so be it.’
🚨 NEW: People close to Biden tell Axios he’s feeling bullish on what he can accomplish, and is fully prepared to support the dashing of the filibuster to allow Democrats to pass voting rights and other trophy legislation.https://t.co/9PAz1spvom
— Axios (@axios) March 24, 2021
Congressional Republicans, including those in the Senate, haven’t exactly proven willing to meaningfully engage across the aisle. Although the recently enacted COVID-19 economic relief package repeatedly hit 70 percent overall support in surveys of the public, not a single Republican in either chamber of Congress voted in favor of the aid. This ideological cohesion suggests more challenges to the basic procedures of governing from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are likely on the horizon.
The COVID-19 relief is poised to make an impact. The aid includes an expansion of the child tax credit that would be payable to parents in periodic installments instead of only all at once when receiving tax refunds, and this support for struggling families could help ease living conditions for millions of children. According to Axios, Biden is now “feeling bullish on what he can accomplish, and is fully prepared to support the dashing of the Senate’s filibuster rule to allow Democrats to pass voting rights and other trophy legislation for his party.” Other options for a post-filibuster world include expanding broadband internet infrastructure for rural communities, making the expanded child tax credit permanent, and more.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who is one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate and could sink certain party-line legislative proposals on his own with the current party breakdown in place, indicated this week that he is in favor of an “enormous” infrastructure spending package, adding that it’s not “reasonable” for Republicans to categorically oppose tax increases to fund the spending. Manchin floated a possible re-adjustment of the tax reform that Trump signed into law in 2017, lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent. Manchin suggested adding at least five percent back onto that rate.
New: @Sen_JoeManchin calls for an "enormous" infrastructure package funded in part by new taxes.
He wants to roll back some of the Trump tax cuts.
The WV Democrat tells me the GOP position against new taxes is not "reasonable."
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) March 24, 2021
With Manchin’s support, Senate Democrats could pass infrastructure spending via budget reconciliation, a process that allows certain legislation to move to a vote with just 51 Senators onboard. Democrats used the process for the recently enacted COVID-19 relief, which not a single Republican in Congress supported despite high levels of support among the general public.