There’s no point in shredding words: Senate Democrats suck. Despite having the majority this year, it is so close that it will be next to impossible for them to advance their agenda across the aisle without support. And so far nobody wants to play nice over there.
Republicans are still sore because the Democrats won the November election and even more so when they passed President Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. Capitol Hill is now full of underhand tensions that have led the Democrats to look for a way to get to work.
Unfortunately, as the Senate is 50-50 split (with Vice President Kamala Harris being the tiebreaker), Republicans can use the filibuster to sabotage almost any bill the Democrats are trying to get through. The filibuster is an old Senate rule that requires a majority of 60 votes on controversial issues. Democrats have threatened to get rid of the filibuster, but they don’t really have the votes. You need all 50 members of the Democratic Caucus to get him out of the water.
Additionally, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has said more than once that he will stall the Senate the second they try to change the rule.
For the time being, the filibuster remains.
This means that sweeping marijuana law, which cannabis advocates had high hopes for passing this year, is unlikely to go far. There is simply not enough support in the upper chamber to accomplish this.
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However, Schumer has a plan to advance the democratic agenda. It won’t require him to eliminate the filibuster and it will still allow the party to continue their winning streak. He hopes Section 304 of the Congressional Budget Act will allow Democrats to pass a third budget vote that only requires a simple majority. The congress usually only receives one vote per fiscal year. This was technically used up when they approved Biden’s coronavirus plan. They want to use a 2022 budget vote that covers infrastructure, jobs, and climate change, and apply the third one that they believe they need to focus on on additional issues.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool / Getty Images
“I believe that big, bold steps are a must. We have to do this. And we prefer our Republican colleagues to work with us on these things. A lot of the things I mentioned are bipartisan in the sense that the majority of Republicans support them, ”said Schumer said last week.
“If not, our caucus will come together and we will discuss the best way to produce this great, bold action. And like I said, everything, everything is on the table, ”he concluded.
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The big question is: can Democrats use a third budget vote to pass the sweeping marijuana reform bill that is due to be introduced soon? Sadly no. Anything to do with marijuana legalization would not be achievable this way. This problem is in line with the $ 15 an hour minimum wage deal that the Democrats sought in recent coronavirus relief efforts. They tried, but in the end, Senate impartial MP Elizabeth MacDonough said the increase would not be possible through a budget vote. And that was it.
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However, it is possible that the Democrats will try again to push the boundaries of the budget vote to get some sort of cannabis reform on the books. Perhaps the SAFE Banking Act – a simple piece of legislation that allows banks to do business with the cannabis industry – could be passed and passed by simple majority. However, it is up to the parliamentarian to interpret reconciliation and its limits.
So far, the Democrats have not made a decision on the legislative strategy. But suddenly and very interestingly, MacDonough, whose job it is to interpret the rules, has become the most influential person in the capital of the country.