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Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is considering using budget reconciliation two more times this year to pass up to $3 trillion in spending aimed at core priorities, including infrastructure, climate change, education, taxes and health care, according to Democratic and Republican budget experts.

Why it matters: The tactic would allow some legislation to pass the Senate without eliminating the filibuster and require only a simple majority vote in both chambers.

  • It also would antagonize Senate Republicans, who have been eager to question President Biden's interest in bipartisanship.

The big picture: The president’s economic advisers are preparing a $3 trillion spending proposal for him, with $1 trillion for infrastructure and hundreds of billions more for climate change, caregivers, community colleges and pre-kindergarten education, the New York Times reported Monday.

  • Under the reconciliation process, Democrats need only two things to get legislation passed through the Senate: 50 votes and a ruling from the Senate parliamentarian that the proposed legislation is eligible under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
  • But getting three separate reconciliation packages approved by the parliamentarian and signed into law in one year would be unprecedented.
  • The White House declined to comment.

Flashback: Former President Trump attempted two during his first year in office but only one — tax reform — passed the Senate, with the late Sen. John McCain killing his attempt to repeal Obamacare via reconciliation.

  • “The Democratic majority could take two more bites at the reconciliation apple this year,” said Eric Ueland, a longtime Senate staffer who ran legislative affairs for Trump.
  • “While clearing out the procedural underbrush will take some work, if they go this way, President Biden might make history signing three reconciliation bills in just one year.”
  • Sarah Bianchi, a longtime Biden economic adviser, said: “The White House has the ability to do two more reconciliation packages this year if they want to — a spending one and a tax one."

Between the lines: The White House has not made any final decisions on its legislative strategy and is publicly saying it's committed to finding Republican votes for an infrastructure deal to spend billions on bridges, broadband and battery-charging stations — and then finding some new sources of revenue.

  • But if bipartisanship fails, Democrats could then use one of two remaining reconciliation vehicles for infrastructure and also pursue bigger tax increases, including raising rates for corporations and wealthy Americans.
  • The final reconciliation package could be saved for even bolder — and more expensive — progressive priorities, including a public option for health care and new spending commitments on caregivers, community colleges and universal pre-k education.
  • “Care is infrastructure, and paid leave undergirds it," said Dawn Huckelbridge, director of Paid Leave for All. "Roads and bridges enable us to work, make us more productive and competitive. The same is true of caregiving.”

The intrigue: Relying on reconciliation for some of Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda could release some progressive pressure to abolish the filibuster in the Senate.

  • That said, it won’t let off all the steam, especially with House Democrats demanding the Senate pass H.R. 1 to expand and protect voting rights.

Go deeper

44 mins ago - World

U.S. will give Russians written response to NATO demands, Blinken says

Blinken and Lavrov shake hands in Geneva. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed after a meeting with his Russian counterpart on Friday that the U.S. will provide written answers to Russia's security demands next week.

Why it matters: Russia claims to be waiting for "concrete answers" to its demands that NATO rule out further expansion and roll back its presence in eastern Europe before deciding its next steps on Ukraine. But the U.S. and NATO have called those proposals "non-starters," and Friday's meeting offered no breakthroughs, so it's unclear how written answers might change the equation.

More surprises await scientists at Antarctica's "Doomsday Glacier"

Cliffs along the edge of the Thwaites Ice Shelf in West Antarctica. Photo: James Yungel/NASA

Researchers like David Holland, an atmospheric scientist at New York University, are in a race to understand the fate of a massive glacier in West Antarctica that has earned a disquieting nickname: "The Doomsday Glacier."

Why it matters: Studies show the Thwaites Glacier (its official name) could already be on an irreversible course to melt during the next several decades to centuries, freeing up enough inland ice to raise global sea levels by at least several feet.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Omicron's blitz around the world has underscored the need for a new arsenal of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, experts say — and that may require an effort akin to Operation Warp Speed 2.0.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to evolve, potentially in a way that further escapes vaccine protection, and the best way to prevent more global disruptions to everyday life is to have tools ready to combat whatever comes next.