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tv   Policy Experts Discuss Budget Reconciliation  CSPAN  July 12, 2021 10:57am-11:47am EDT

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for democrats seem to be rooted in in a sort of very typical for democrats animosity toward the businesses in general and skepticism about corporations in general and need to shrink them down to size. and for republicans it's really tied to the sort of culture war against technology companies in general way they perceive them as being biased against conservatives, moderate content or corporate culture. so the effects push against detectors the attackers were tied to the general feeling that tech companies are out to get them. >> watch "the communicators" with recent magazines elizabeth nolan brown on a recent article "the bipartisan antitrust crusade against big tech." tonight at eight eastern on c-span2. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more including comcast.
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>> are you thinking this is your security center? >> is way more than that. >> contest is bargained with 1000 can reset is too great wi-fi enabled liposomes systems from low income families can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. >> comcast support c-span as a public service along with these other television providers giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> next a discussion on budget reconciliation in congress which allows certain legislation to pass by a simple majority in both the house and senate. back in march democrats use the reconciliation process to pass covid-19 relief without any republican support. now they're considering similar action on a potential infrastructure bill from the brookings institution this runs 45 minutes. >> welcome. good afternoon. thank you for joining us for conversation about budget reconciliation. i am sarah binder, i'm here with
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my colleague molly reynolds. where both senior fellows with this government studies program at brookings. when boat written books about the senate filibuster. her book is ways to get around the filibuster including using reconciliation. her book is exceptions to the rule, politics of filibuster limitation in the u.s. senate. my book is on the political history of the filibuster co-authored with a colleague steve smith, and disco politics and principal? filibustering just sent. we will spend about 30 30 mis today answering some common questions about reconciliation. for those of you who have submitted questions in advance thank you, and will cover a lot of the ground you were curious about in our conversation. and then we will turn to more audience questions. if you arere viewing live you cn submit questions for uswi by e-mailing events@brookings.edu or via hashtag or twitter but
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using the hashtag reconciliation 101. let's go. molly, why did you start us off? what exactly is a reconciliation bill? and along the way they mays to understand what isn't the reconciliation bill? >> thanks, sarah. .. changes to one type of federal spending known as mandatory spending to revenue or to the debt limit. mandatory spending is handled outside of the appropriations process. often, it is determined by criteria, something like medicare. which is the overall blueprint that it's off, the congressional
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budget process, each one of those can produce up to three reconciliations. one satisfaction only revenue, one only slightly and one estimate. it's pretty hard to do major policy change without touching revenue and spending together so we are talking about each present budget resolution during to reconciliation bills and practice. as we've learned recently, you can kind of a mark additional attempts at the reconciliation process by revising a budget resolution the subject at some headlines about a month ago but here think it's common for our conversation today, timing is a big factor even if the roles of the process interpretation of the rules allow for you to do
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something, but calendar and schedule can be as restrictive on how the reconciliation process unfolds. we'll talk about this in a little bit and more detail but the big powerful thing about the reconciliation process is it allows for these bills to move to the senate without the possibility of a filibuster so instead of n 60 votes to invoke cloture debate, you can do that with a simple majority. that has to do with the fact that under the rules in the congressional budget act from first limitation on how long a reconciliation bill can be debated so once the time for debate is over, that's it, the senate moves to a vote and that has theot effect of preventing e possibility of the other roster.
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reconciliation bills can change, existing conference canex create new programs and eliminate programs overall process is various. our restricting four kinds of memory permitted during senate consideration and it divides the rules that shape the process into ones that restrict the subject matter of a reconciliation bill has to be budgetary in nature. if things reconciliation bills can't be merely incidental, we can unpack that and will and the size of a a reconciliation bills also restricted. they mustst be fully paid for beyond a certain time.ll from a usually ten years and that has the effect of things like the bush tax cuts, trump tax cut into the reconciliation,
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i contain provisions that expire, one of the constraints of the process but is a bit of an overview why we have this complicated but very important legislative process? >> i remind it's a great example of institutional one person. one particular time change their party leaders with that established tool and often the probably not have not been envisioned when the particular lawmakers who wrote the rule or
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the loss probably didn't envision how they might be used in future and it's not that unusual in respect of the rules that politicians created them so it creates this opportunity for complicated procedures that don't work congressional but in this and mean it was 1970, the period of art burning from republican and democratic parties wrote these programs like medicare and medicaid and other mandatory programs created largely from 1960s. spending outside the annual appropriations and process on top of this going budget and
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spending, we have institution conflict between congress and republican resident. federal spending and congress' power to determine where executives should sent the treasury, please add up to the budget act of 1924 so the reconciliation there as you suggested, some of the details of the original budget act but they would be budget resolution. one would lay out a budget blueprint revenue spending dividends were coming 15 year through the splenic preparation
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process to and then there were supposed to do a second budget resolution therapy a more binding commitment to budget revenue to match up, making last-minute changes spending with other budget resolutions so reconciliation was the subpoena from officials the opportunity at the end make the budget resolution went up. i think lawmakers quickly figured out a little cumbersome but in the 1979 to 1980, a stick back to that resolution it may not be that type of doctor it
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turns out you didn't need it so resolution and how we on the opportunity that, less frequent but not until 1980s, late 70s we have almost a dozen financial law, the first one in 1980, it changed a little but over time the ten here budget, and one budget resolution and then five years it would be covered. they stop them, i believe it can. future parties makesis the winds and creates more opportunities spending more money in taxes but the key part is what you eluded to, you can't filibuster reconciliation bills so
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probably, why not? i thought especially with senators so what is that about? >> here it is important to come back to the process as you laid out as designed in the 74 act so you are talking under 74 act would be a first budget resolution therapy has like it budget resolution in the fall and then there would be best. just before the start of a new fiscal year were congress might need to act quickly to bring the budget process to a close for the federal budgete started october 1 to this needs to be ready speedy to go pretty quickly, a big part of what
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motivated this desire to put limitation on how long reconciliation could be debated in the senate the idea was that august might need to move fast, limiting how long you can talk about the reconciliation bill help make that possible. congress realized predictably even with debate limitations that small window for action plus probably too small, part of why eventually reconciliation process moving from the first to the second and second budget resolution excised off center surgery. this reconciliation is worth noting, not the only example of this debate limitation, we have other instances where particular
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pieces congress decides that piece of the legislation should be protected from the filibuster, generally either congress wants to avoid blame, deflect responsibility to another actor and have that proposal by someone else comes up with, moves through in a protective right because congress wants to enhance the ability to oversee executive branch. reconciliation is probably the most consequential of these great limitations in the senate but again, it is not the only one that i think about use of these reconciliation in the contemporary congress, mulling over the degree to which having reconciliation as this filibuster protective option for
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enticing the legislation potentially has helped the filibuster around because reconciliation exists as a consistent outlet for certain types of policyen changes so you can say okay, will do that to reconciliation, i can't but be filibuster without keeping filibuster around for filibuster work generally. i sort of brought up the idea here but for a time reconciliation has become this will affect the majority party in the senate to pursue it goals. has not always been the. case for? was reconciliation effort bipartisan? added that change and do think reconciliation is its one-party more than the other? >> i think it tempting to tell a story that reconciliation has become more partisan over theio decades as the parties have
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become more polarized and team play honors and there is some truth to that, i certainly see a handful of bipartisan bills onn reconciliation in 1980 for the parties were so at odds with one another happy moment here but we now we see partisan vote, 17, democrats voted for or bidens pandemic and reconciliationid consumer republicans voting for it, i sent is from on this issue of partisan reconciliation,
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reconciliation from the get go with the reagan administration kicking up a big notch, living in the early 1980s is already using it as an instrument to pursue a republican policy in a way that pares back spending favored by democrats we used to call stamps, that is reconciliation for the first time decades and troika senate so thinking that it was bipartisan, i think the evolution here is that parties on a way to exploit reconciliation for top priorities regardless of the impact on federal deficit and
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they have both done it in their own way that republicans favor tax cuts largely and can do reconciliation to do that at the cost of this and also democrats want to use it more social welfare programs so it's no longer a budget cutting tool, reconciliation 2017, it would pay for them selves but by many estimates, perhaps $2 trillion in revenue and at and pandemic eight necessary to get the pandemic get back to work those are paid for but the transformation is, the parties have found a way for the party would become more at odds with
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one another, it definitely looks more partisan because members across the aisle use it for the other party and of course there is a constraint on the majority party but certainly bird pool so is a little bit of doubt, it is my we have it and this might be reconciliation 201, it's not complicated. why it would end up being so complicated is my question. >> the bird will basically is one the content of reconciliation bills added to the process in 1985 modified
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somewhat in 1986 and 87 and it named for senator robert byrd of west virginia and basically in the mid 80s had two reasons he offered for meeting to place limitations on what could be in a reconciliation bill. the first i was congress was trying on the one trick that was conciliation trying to add things to reconciliation bills that didn't serve the goal of reducing theic deficit and addig these additional nonproducing provisions, adding trauma and controversy to the process making it harder for congress to make progress on this underlying goal of reducing benefit. one of the ways process was
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originally used to achieve reduction basically by selling lots of congressional committees and those reconciliation instructions you mentioned earlier they had to report out legislation prescribes that amount of these committees will be set to work on this goal and i would report back to their proposals for achieving fat congress would take one vote on the whole package. the idea is everyone should have some role in achieving this, everyone should be required to share some upper pain necessary to reduce the federal deficit that was the central goal of the process and how it was designed to work, adding more things that were not intended for the deficit, the process of making
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it harder. the other is that by making reconciliation those without the threat of a filibuster using the expedited process was undermining the deliberative nature, this book would be restrictions again in reconciliation bill the content, the most significant piece is the part where provisions of the reconciliation bill are budgetary in nature and that affects cap merely just incidental to the goal of the provision. why is it so complicated i go over a couple of reasons, one is the fact that the rules like all senate rules is not self
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enforcing so the only way we have footprints of violation in the senate record comes from something being challenged on the floor, potential violation and defend about either waive the rule or the ruling of the chair whether or not something violates the rule so because there are lots of potential violations we don't ever see and also there might be provisions of the reconciliation bill but if more than 60 senators which is what it would take to waive the bird will and keep the provision in violation of it in the middle, if there is super tardy to support a particular provision, maybe we never know
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that might have been a violation so that uncertainty around it, the light footprint that the bird can leave is one reason it's complicated, another is that we don't have a statutory definition of what incidental means, there is a real, i think we are going to talk about the solitary in a minute but there is a you know it when you see it government to the bird pool there is a lot about the way it's been interpreted over time that doesn't come from budgetary language. another reason it's not complicated is the fact that we were talking about your previous question, i think there is more pressure in the reconciliation reprocess now and there was in e 80s but you're right, even in
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the 80s beginning from the first reconciliation process, procedures were used to achieve goals power important in the senate majority party but they were not be only way a majority party might be able to try and achieve some of the cult especially if they had bipartisan support. now i think for a lot of legislative freedoms that reconciliation becomes the only waye a majority party of the senate bills you can accomplish the things it wants to do and as the process bears more and more of those policy agendaa items, that increases complexity of the process the last thing i'll say has to do the consequences of the rule for the structure of reconciliation bill so because
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the rule is applied it can be the case one provision is deemed to be a violation of this rule, that can sort of pull on that one string or that feather and continue our bird metaphor, that unwinds the rest of the bill policy wise and we look back at the republicans failedd attempt using reconciliation, there were some pieces of how they had instructed a bill that would accomplish this goal in aca deemed to be violation of the rules and they pull that one brick out of the wall and made it harder on a policy perspective to sustain the rest or politically as well and we saw this potential issue in the
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spring of the american rescue plan, the debate whether or not included the federal minimum wage and that ended up coming out of the bill because the parliamentarian decides it's in violation of the byrd rule but that had political consequences for the coalition needed to support the legislation. i've mentioned the parliamentarian, an important role here. can you talk about that, why has a job become particularly controversial? what role is it beyond rule, what other rules might come into play? >> just as a framework here, decision-making bodies have
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parliamentarian, by myself in the parliamentarian but is of the body. the code or in the senate case, a formal standing chamber or interpretations of rules, polymers have been applied in the past with particular circumstances and more informal practices but parliamentarian didn't fight, they provide information, senators informally. they would provide an officer have a parliamentarian would interpret or apply the rule, make the byrd rule or other provisions to say what do the rules require or suggest or allow in one particular situation or the other.
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sometimes it's black and white. the situation counters, it could reconciliation used with planned parenthood and a decision is made once in the 90s every time it comes up, it's easy for the parliamentarian to provide that but other times gray those are situations that people outside the senate, i have been shocked how many people, i think they know the parliamentarian's role and i think telling senators to do what i can't that she is advising it's always the chair and i would call it the american benefit of parliamentarian practices, the chair paul's advice, and what the chair, the policy surfaces
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to make ruling product the end of the day the senate is the one in interpretations so what is the parliamentarian doing here? the reconciliation packet as she can provide advice competing here from competing teams, senators about why they think the provisions in reconciliation bills or not, gives advice and by and large i sent is because they probably don't for whatever reason, they don't want to leave a footprint for whatever reason in part because they knew this tense to carry the day it just
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informal. as things become more partisan with a 50/50 divide meaning no profile, thereer is a conservate pro- bias era the majority senators and feeders not really don't have it to fix reconciliation. i think we have questions coming in. i'll start here, and pr, decides how many times reconciliation and be used and what it may include. >> i think your answer to the question of the parliamentarian to underline couple of the things youou said, the differene
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between what the parliamentarian advice is and what the senate is willing to do so the parliamentariany could say something is a potential violation of vertebral and the senate of the booklet say we hear you, parliamentarian but we are going to ignore your advice, keep in the bill, something could be a challenge that provision before and parliamentarian here, it is possible for a simple majority of senators in the current senate, 50 democrats left the boat with the vice president to disregard the advice of the parliamentarian but it's clear
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in many situations it's clear there's a difference between what a majority of the senate want to do policy wise and maybe what they are really to do rules, stretching the process and think that happened in the senders have preserving equilibrium that is the parliamentarian that nonpartisan source of advice in this hunt because as were saying, the start of your answer, this is not the only thing the parliamentarian does, she does not exist only in violation of the boardwalk and there are lots of other situations where it's shared interest of senators to have a parliamentary referee with a all are willing to into so i think as we think about these questions, what could really happen what are the
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parliamentary edge cases? is important to remember there is a difference between what some senators might support policy grant or what can happen. >> some of the expressions coming in from reconciliation, so you're going to do our best. as it increase derive this in the senate works. >> reconciliation can touch the debt limit. exactly how it can make changes is a little more complicated so the process could definitely be used to raise the debt ceiling, probably should not be used to eliminate the debt ceiling
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entirely do away with the concept of debt limits the question of spending limits are more complicated, i don't know if you have any past on that middle ground. what's important to note on this as well as under other hypotheticals about reconciliation is the difference between what could happen and what seems likely to happen. it remains unclear to me whether democrats will decide conciliation ways they want to deal with the debt limit, it's clear it needs to be dealt with exactly n when is unclear, how t fits into the overall timing, it's an open question.
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>> financial reasons why a party prefers spending the debt limit presencere a certain level, my sense in the spending is more palatable because you are not giving a target number against your party but you suggested if that doesn't score and perhaps taken off the table is an alternative for something on the appropriations. >> this might be a good moment to give a little bit of perspective, where are we now? what seems to beha the plan of e biden administration democrats in congress using reconciliation, how many bills are we talking about? not clear whether the debt limit
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for the legislation process, where are we? >> with the caveat that will be people watching today working on these issues.pl from the outside, it, appears there are lots of mixed metaphors, there a couple in the area at their same time, i'm usg my hands to illustrate, it seems the first wrap could work seems to be the current train track for the bipartisan, it seems to have flakes here, infrastructure bill to continue on the regular or irregular to produce a plan to come to the senate and then
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pass to the house where it would seem the speaker and majority party were there. at the same time, underway appears to be. parallel in reconciliation bill that would tackle the democrats bill, the family plan and what else might be in the jobs plan for social self infrastructure. in tandem, a person without first resolution would come up in the senate spent week negotiated with the house and setting first including reconciliation sections so once it passes to the resolution, it can get underway on the
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reconciliation bill to make it to the senate floor and then they would have bipartisan and a package to go. with the fallback and questions about reconciliation at the fall back in the bipartisan infrastructure into social infrastructure and i suppose the question and how resolution the reconciliation instruction the committee about the possibility there would be large amounts in the committee to add the bipartisan bill into one gigantic reconciliation bill. i think that is the fallback
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plan and it deals with how much they may be willing to put into either form. but if you put it in the outset, it i don't think let us the hope possibly before it gets into that moreover campaigning the rule. >> you brought up the question committees, a question about back how specific can the reconciliation instructions be to thean jurisdiction but generally instructions do not tell committees exactly which programs they shouldtr make changes in two achieve
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prescribed amounts of either. deficit reduction, spending increases, revenue increases, they don't generally contain that direction. that said, there is a behind the scenes process that goes on so in order to decide how the instruction should be, you have developed a sense week to be achieved through those instructions before you decide on the number some committees from ones that don't have a lot of it in the jurisdiction, there are already so many levers they can pull but generally, it doesn't appear in the
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instructions themselves, i think that's what's happening behind the scenes right now, what are the changes likely, what are the building blocks likely to make up those changes. >> went on national reconciliations for a one one think he question from -- is the senate, material will figure it must be reported after the minority party. >> for whether the resolutions look like and piece together in
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this. >> in the congressional budget act, using reconciliation, fat law provides for opportunities to revise budget resolution so if you read about the original act and other speeches and committee reports it all back from early uses of r the budget act, the underlying idea again in this era of multiple budget resolutions, conditions might be moderate, things might happen. external crisis in the committee for congress might need the ability revise chemical back and make changes to this budget. but why when writing the budget
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act congress provided for the possibility of revising a budget resolution. in part because again reconciliation has become this trick, fist key to unlock a filibuster process more important than i think it used to be. we've seen congressionalry majorities tried to put out ways to use and bigger price or in this case, more often so we have this question whether congress got back to having taken the budget resolution that they passed i believe in february to unlock the reconciliation - process and created american rescue plan congress passed the president biden signed into law in march, could make a back to the resolution, revise it in a
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way that would unlock the second reconciliation process for the current fiscal year we are currently and if they could under this part of the act, what could they do with it? how is the question the parliamentarian had last month. we have just a a couple of monts if you want to take on about discharge and then we will wrap up. >> in this budget act, when applied to the first budget resolution a normal circumstance, they are discharged because by which resolution has to be adopted, it sounds like from the reporting here think there is no other discharge on revised amendment
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budget resolution. we are in a 5050 senate, the parliamentarian does police whether or not conform with reporting rules but it sounds like given a 50/50 senate, it sounds like given publicans basicallyca have a quorum to prevent the democrat i would not be possible without republican support at the committee. at least in my head why they discharge it but that seems to be concept of the law provision 50/50 senate and the
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parliamentarian. there are so many moving parts here. they require republicans so i think it isit the circumstance here and it's interesting. >> we played all of this out but this is another case where constraints are just what the law says or the interpretation of the law says that the senate will push this, it is also the count. there are real questions given both the amount of wartime and going back to the two moving trains together, the degree to which politically challenging to say some parts of your provision would put things in one
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reconciliation bill and a second reconciliation bill that may or may not come to pass all that, there are constraints outside of the ones of the rules placed on the process. those are also playing a role. >> the majority, it is a tough battle all around for the majority. thank you all for joining us and we look forward to seeing you again. >> today, a hearing on who is eligible for the nutrition assistance program formerly known as food stamps. watch live at noon eastern on c-span2. online at c-span.org or listen other free c-span radio app. >> u.s. senate returns from the fourth of july break today to
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debate and abides nominee civilian security, democracy and human rights. former diplomat heading the alliance building at senate majority leader chuck schumer one centers is going to be a busy month for late month and we can debate on it infrastructure bill amid 2022 federal budget. senate thousand 3:00 p.m. eastern with a devote to limit minority at 5:30 p.m. eastern live coverage of the senate is on c-span2. tonight, communicators -- >> republicans and democrats attacking from all angles, antitrust trust one of them but they have coalesced on and trust laws, in order to go after tech companies but they will have a different reason for doing so even though they the same resolution. foem

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