The Impact of the Senate’s Budget Reconciliation Process on Construction
The Senate’s budget reconciliation process is arcane, but a powerful tool that could advance or inhibit President-elect Biden’s agenda on Capitol Hill over the next two years. In short, budget reconciliation allows the Senate to circumvent the traditional 60-vote threshold and pass legislation with a simple majority. The procedure is complicated because reconciliation was intended to be used for deficit-reduction purposes, but lawmakers have long been able to pass significant policy changes on other topics by connecting them to taxes and spending. However, to avoid procedural hurdles like “the Byrd rule,” which lets senators challenge and potentially defeat items in the reconciliation bill that are deemed extraneous. In 2017, the Republicans used the budget reconciliation to pass their tax code overhaul. As of now, the Senate will have three attempts at reconciliation during the 117th Congress; one for each fiscal year since neither chamber adopted a fiscal 2021 budget resolution amid the pandemic. Finally, tax changes, stimulus programs, and green infrastructure projects are among the major implications for construction that could be addressed through budget reconciliation. ASA will keep members updated on the process as it unfolds over the next two years.