Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., was caught on a hot mic telling Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that the budget reconciliation process would “most likely” be needed to get an infrastructure package into the end zone.
While at a Monday press conference featuring Buttigieg, Cardin was caught on a C-SPAN mic saying that Democrats will “most likely have to use reconciliation” to push an infrastructure package through Congress.
Cardin also told Buttigieg that the infrastructure bill will be constructed in a “similar” way to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that President Biden signed last week.
“Ultimately, it’s going to be put together similar to how the American Rescue Plan was put together …,” Cardin was caught saying. “Most likely, we’re going to have to use reconciliation.”
Budget reconciliation is a parliamentary procedure that gained recognition as the Democrats looked for an avenue to get their COVID-19 relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, past a Senate filibuster and to President Joe Biden’s desk. It allows lawmakers to sidestep Senate filibusters. So no 60-vote requirement there. All you need is to find a simple majority to pass whatever bill you insert into a budget reconciliation package.
So, essentially, Cardin and the Senate Democrats can pass an infrastructure legislative package so long as they have 51 votes to pass the measure through budget reconciliation — an easier feat for Democrats to accomplish in the 50/50 Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.
Neither Cardin’s nor Buttigieg’s office immediately returned Fox News’ requests for comment.
Cardin’s hot mic comments come a week after Congress pushed through the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that included another round of stimulus checks.
Critics of the package say that the price tag was far too high and lampooned the pork in the bill — such as $350 million to state and local governments — for not being relevant to the COVID-19 response.
“Why would we print and borrow $2 trillion when we’re so close to crushing this virus and returning to a way of life that all Americans sacrificed?” asked Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Penn.