Nov 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden plans early congressional blitz if Democrats take Senate

Illustration of plate of money under Capitol dome

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If Democrats win the Senate, they may test the limits of “budget reconciliation” with a blitz to pass as much as possible with 50 votes, pending a decision on whether to finally abolish the filibuster and its 60-vote requirement.

The big picture: Biden, if he's elected, will front-load his agenda with coronavirus stimulus and attempt several other big-ticket items in his first year, aware that his political capital will start to diminish as soon as he takes office.

  • After a pandemic push that could top $3 trillion, he'll have to decide how to prioritize immigration, climate, taxes, health care, prescription drugs and student loans.
  • Every interest group thinks its legislation should go first. Many will be disappointed.

What we're hearing: With Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying the Senate is unlikely to consider a relief package this year, Biden may be forced to do a short-term package right away.

  • But some Biden advisers think the White House will only get one shot and want to go as big as possible on the first pass.
  • They're determined to learn from the $787 billion stimulus of 2009, which most economists now think was too small.

Editor's note: This post was corrected to reflect that pandemic relief could top $3 trillion (not $3 billion).

Go deeper