Senate Negotiations Continue on Reconciliation Bill

Talks between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) on a scaled-down budget reconciliation bill continued last week. Negotiations have focused on energy and climate provisions that should be included in the package, lowering prescription drug costs, and reducing the federal deficit.

The authorization for passage of the legislation using the budget reconciliation process, which allows Senate Democrats to pass the bill on a purely party-line vote and avoid a Republic filibuster, expires Sept. 30. Because the Senate is evenly divided, Democrats will need all 50 Democratic Senators to support the bill, allowing Vice President Kamala Harris to cast a tie-breaking vote as provided in the U.S. Constitution.

Last week, a majority of House Democrats sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to reach a deal with the Senate in order to pass some version of the legislation that included energy and climate provisions passed in the House version of the bill. The Senate is scheduled to go on recess July 24 and will not return until September, and Schumer is expected to try to bring an agreed-upon reconciliation package to the Senate floor for a vote in July prior to the August recess.