For those of you following the potential for an infrastructure bill, it appears we have a decree from “Mount Parliamentarian.”
We write this in jest, because there is no such thing in the Senate. Rulings and decisions from Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough are important. But when you’re trying to pass an infrastructure bill, those who toil on Capitol Hill have a way of transforming every jot and tittle of the process into a decree, practically issued from “Mount Parliamentarian.”
That’s why there’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes Senate gesticulating that MacDonough may have ruled in a way to make it harder for Democrats to pass an infrastructure bill on their own.
Such advice issued from MacDonough’s office isn’t announced with bugles and fanfare. They sometimes take the form of written responses to senators and certain staff posting key questions. The information sometimes comes via a conversation or phone call. Whatever MacDonough may or may not have said about the procedure for handling an infrastructure bill constitutes guardrails based on the Senate’s rules and precedents. Her information may help Senate Democratic leaders decide how to approach an infrastructure bill. But this is hardly a proclamation issued with fanfare – with the exception of those who want you to believe it is.
Still, this will influence how Democrats craft their strategy to pass an infrastructure bill.