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What’s Budget Reconciliation?

Updated: Jul 7, 2022

Budget reconciliation is a special way to pass legislation and only needs a simple majority of votes in the Senate, instead of 60. There’s a lot in the current reconciliation bill that will help working people: universal paid leave, workers’ rights, and support for 3.2 million jobs every year.

How do we get our federal budget?

First, the president sends a budget proposal to Congress that outlines the executive branch’s upcoming priorities. Congress discusses the budget, makes adjustments and then adopts a budget resolution that guides how it raises and spends money. The budget resolution only needs a simple majority of votes in the Senate, not 60 votes like other pieces of legislation.

What is budget reconciliation?

Budget reconciliation is when Congress turns the budget resolution into a law that raises and spends federal tax dollars on the priorities it sets. Like the budget, reconciliation only needs a majority of votes in the Senate.

Why is budget reconciliation so special?

In addition to only needing a majority of votes, reconciliation can’t be filibustered. So no one can stand on the Senate floor and read entire novels to kill a bill.

That sounds great! Why can’t everything pass with a simple majority?

We wish! We’re definitely fighting to change the Senate rules to make that happen. But reconciliation is limited to bills that have to do with spending and revenue.

OK, so what’s in reconciliation right now?

A lot! President Biden’s Build Back Better plan is included. That’s a $3.5 trillion investment in working people, good union jobs, health care, and more.

So how does this help working people?

As working people, there’s a lot to like in the Build Back Better plan, which:

  • Creates monetary penalties for employers who violate workers’ right to organize.

  • Taxes credits for using domestic supply chains.

  • Reduces prescription drug costs.

  • Promotes high-speed rail and other carbon-reducing infrastructure.

  • Supports 3.2 million jobs annually, including 1.1 million in the care industry.

Is that all?

Of course not! It also includes things like:

  • Two years of free community college.

  • Twelve weeks of universal paid leave.

  • More affordable housing.

And who’s paying for this?

These investments are paid for by raising taxes on corporations and wealthy people who will finally start paying their fair share. And to those who hesitate at the price tag of Build Back Better, remember the cost of inaction is far greater.

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