Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday announced they have filed a joint budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2021 that gives Congress an additional legislative tool to pass the urgently-needed bipartisan COVID relief legislation that enacts President Joe Biden’s comprehensive American Rescue Plan which helps defeat the virus and provide workers and families the resources they need to survive the pandemic while the vaccine is distributed to every American.
Introduction of a joint budget resolution is the first step to potentially enacting a Budget Reconciliation bill, one legislative tool available to Congress to quickly pass bipartisan COVID relief legislation.
The Resolution outlines the “reconciliation instructions” for each House and Senate committee, or how much funding can be spent in their jurisdiction. If both the House and Senate pass identical Budget Resolutions (which do not require a Presidential signature), both chambers can begin work on the Reconciliation bill that is signed by the President.
According to an analysis of research from the Congressional Research Service, reconciliation bills have been passed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis 17 times in recent years, including to pass the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 1997.
“Congress has a responsibility to quickly deliver immediate comprehensive relief to the American people hurting from COVID-19,” said Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi.
“The cost of inaction is high and growing, and the time for decisive action is now. With this budget resolution, the Democratic Congress is paving the way for the landmark Biden-Harris coronavirus package that will crush the virus and deliver real relief to families and communities in need.”
“We are hopeful that Republicans will work in a bipartisan manner to support assistance for their communities, but the American people cannot afford any more delays and the Congress must act to prevent more needless suffering,” said Schumer and Pelosi.