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Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Pool/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) believes he has found a route to moving additional bills by simple majority, beyond the one additional use of reconciliation that most on Capitol Hill had thought was his limit.

Why it matters: If the Senate parliamentarian upholds Schumer's interpretation, Democrats can pass more pieces of the party's agenda without having to bust the filibuster rule, which requires at least 60 votes — and therefore 10 Republicans in the 50-50 Senate.

Top policy aides to Schumer recently argued to the Senate parliamentarian that revising this year's budget resolution could "trigger an additional set of reconciliation instructions," which would allow for further 50-50 votes that are decided by Vice President Harris.

  • It's not clear how many additional reconciliation opportunities this theory would open up. But the conventional wisdom is that Democrats have just one more shot at reconciliation this year, and this route would give them at least one more.
  • "No final decision has been made on the legislative strategy," a Schumer aide said. "Schumer wants to maximize his options to allow Senate Democrats multiple pathways to advance President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda if Senate Republicans try to obstruct or water down a bipartisan agreement."

The bottom line: Where Democrats were thought to have two reconciliation vehicles this year, they'd have at least three if the parliamentarian agrees with Schumer.

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Go deeper

Mar 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats weigh guns as improbable filibuster test

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Mark Wilson, NurPhoto/Getty Images

Two top Senate Democrats are weighing whether gun reform can be a long shot issue proving they can work with Republicans — and don't have to scrap the filibuster after all.

What we're hearing: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) have been privately negotiating how to revise H.R. 8, the House Democrats' background checks bill, to gain support from at least 10 Republicans.

Bipartisan pair of senators say Congress could pass expanded gun background check bill

Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said Sunday's "Meet the Press" they believe that Congress will finally be able to pass legislation on expanded gun background checks.

Why it matters: Recent mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado have brought a renewed focus on the problem of gun violence in America. Last week President Biden called on Congress to take action on gun control.

VA first federal agency to require COVID vaccines for employees

A medical doctor gives the thumbs-up sign to a COVID-19 patient who is no longer using a respirator at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York City. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it would require its frontline health care workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus within the next two months, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The VA is the first federal agency to mandate that employees receive the vaccine. The decision comes as cases of the Delta variant in the U.S. have increased dramatically.

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