(RoyalPatriot.com )- Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, is hard at work trying to pressure his party to pass President Joe Biden’s social spending bill through the upper chamber by this Christmas.
It’s an aggressive timeline, to be sure, and it’s already received much skepticism about whether it could be done. On Monday, Schumer sent a letter to the Democratic caucus describing his plan to pass Biden’s spending package that includes massive dollars for climate change and social programs.
The bill will have to be passed using budget reconciliation to avoid the Senate filibuster, since no Republicans are likely to vote for its approval.
It’s a tough hill to climb for Democrats, who are also facing having to tackle a massive defense spending bill, legislation about voting rights and increasing the debt ceiling — which they came to semi-agreement on with the GOP just this week.
In the letter, Schumer wrote:
“Senate Democrats remain committed in taking up and passing President Biden’s Build Back Better Act before Christmas … [We’re] working furiously to clear the necessary steps to achieve this goal.”
After sending the letter, Schumer gave a floor speech on Tuesday that detailed all the work behind the scenes that was going on to prepare for the passage of the bill. He also warned other senators that the upper chamber may remain in session this weekend so that floor time could be cleared to take up the BBB package before Christmas.
It’s not even three weeks until Christmas, and Senate Democrats somehow believe they can get this all done. They haven’t even come to a final agreement with members of their own party — including moderate Senators such as Joe Manchin from West Virginia — not to mention any guidance they need to adhere to that could be issued by Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate parliamentarian.
The only way this could all happen is if Schumer first gets unity from the 50 Democrats in the Senate, plus finishes up his ongoing talks with MacDonough to ensure the package is complying with all budget rules.
For his part, Manchin says he’s still opposed to a provision in the bill that concerns family leave. The House has passed the bill already, but it could face changes in the Senate simply because Manchin may only agree to support if it that provision is slashed.
As he explained Tuesday:
“There’s an awful lot of work that’s being done … I’m not in control of the time. Maybe they’ll get it done by that time, maybe not. I don’t have any control over that.”
There are still a lot of technicalities the Democrats need to work out with MacDonough before the bill can even be brought to the Senate floor for a vote. That includes meeting with staffers on the Senate’s HELP and Finance committees, then one-on-one meetings with staffers, then a final meeting to ensure all aspects of the BBB comply with the Byrd rule.
That last part would clear any remaining hurdles for passing the bill through budget reconciliation.
Even if everything goes perfectly according to plan — which isn’t likely — passing the bill by Christmas seems like a longshot.