What is budget reconciliation? It’s a tool that makes legislation easier to get passed in the Senate. It first starts with a congressional budget resolution. This doesn’t need to be formally signed by the President and it can’t be stalled in the Senate.  


This is different than a regular bill like we are always advocating for. The bill has a special status in the Senate which can’t be filibustered and needs a simple majority to pass. If there is a reconciliation this lets other committees to reevaluate. To be able to pass this it needs a simple majority to do so.  

Some of the facts lay out a fast-track process to implement this policy in the Congressional budget resolution. In brief summary, Congress sets the total spending, the surplus or deficit. In the budget it may include the following reconciliation directions which recommends changes to existing laws to achieve some of the specific changes. Within the Senate they are incorporating the reconciliation proposals under expedited procedures with a certain limit.  A final vote only needs a simple majority.  


Within the House each of the committees are instructed for coming up with drafts with advisement for spending or changes in revenue. On the House floor the reconciliation recommendations offer non-binding motions that are offered by the Committee Chair. The Rules Committee with historic background has been receptive to proposed amendments by the Chair of the Budget Committee that reflects leadership views. Beneath the Congressional Budget Act there is a point of order against the amendments that worsens the deficit to this bill.  


Some of the advantages of Reconciliation in the Senate are similar in nature in the House during floor considerations on the bill, which is called the Bryd rule, which will be described in the next paragraph. One of the benefits is the debate on the reconciliation bill or conference report up to 20 hours. The effect of the bill can be passed but still demands the 60-vote supermajority which limits debate. 


The rule was named for Senator Robert Byrd and was adopted in the 1980s, limiting irrelevant provisions from inclusion in reconciliation bills. The rule was aimed at preventing the use of reconciliation to move legislative agendas that are unrelated to taxes and spending and the Congress’ ability to increase the deficits at least long-term.  This rule forbids the inclusion of “extraneous” measures in reconciliation and the definition states measures without budgetary effect in outlays or revenues. It worsens the deficit when the committee doesn’t reach its target. The calculations outside of the jurisdiction that has submitted the provision or title. It produces a budgetary effect that’s minor to non-budgetary policy change. Lastly, it measures deficits for any fiscal year outside the reconciliation window. 


Within the reconciliation bill, any Senator may raise a significant provision in the bill, amendment, or the conference agreement. The Senate Parliamentarian decides the Byrd rule violation or the point of the order which can’t be sent to a vote of 60 Senators.  


The agreement procedure can’t be amended but is still under the Byrd requirements within the Senate and doesn’t apply in the House there is a constraint of what can be included in the reconciliation agreement procedure. This rule can be stuck on the agreement on the floor unless 60 Senators waive it to the point of the order. The conference agreement will be defeated, sent to the House without the stripped provision.  


Some of the history behind the reconciliation bill back in 1980 Congress has sent the 26 measures to the President where 4 of the bills were vetoed and 22 enacted. This reduced the deficit through cuts in imperative spending or an increase in revenues. Although, in the early 2000s, Congress had to use reconciliation for increasing the deficit ratifying the major tax cuts without offsetting the loss of revenue.