Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., told Newsmax on Friday that Democrats in the Senate are using budget reconciliation to unilaterally ram legislation through, including immigration reform and some $3.5 trillion in spending that Republican members oppose.
''It's really amazing that [Democrats] have no interest in working with us or working with anyone,'' Tenney said Friday on ''The Chris Salcedo Show.'' ''They just are shoving through everything they can, almost in anticipation that they may lose the majority, and they want to completely dismantle everything that has been put in place, not just in the last four years with the prior president administration, but ... really over the last several years with the problems that they're facing.''
Tenney said that the Democrats are governing as if they have ''massive'' majorities in the House and Senate, instead of about a dozen votes in the House and a 50-50 Senate split that requires Vice President Kamala Harris to cast the tie-breaking vote on majority legislation, but less than the 60 votes required to break a GOP filibuster.
To bypass the filibuster risk, the Democrats are pushing major legislation through the Senate with the budget reconciliation process, which allows a simple majority vote to pass legislation if elements of it involve the budget or appropriations.
Known as the ''Byrd Rule,'' named for the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and enacted in the 1980s, the rule prevents items that contain no budgetary changes in revenue or spending, worsen the deficit, items outside of the jurisdiction of the committee that submitted it, ''incidental'' budget changes required for the item, items that increase the deficit outside of the ''reconciliation window,'' and items affecting Social Security.
Even while reaching a deal with a dozen GOP senators on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal, Democrats simultaneously tracked the reconciliation bill, which includes much of the spending Republicans opposed.
The deal agreed to by Republicans focuses on physical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, rail and tunnels, while the larger plan that Democrats support also invests in what they call "human infrastructure," including strengthening the safety net for poorer Americans, expanding Medicare, providing preschool and community college funding, and addressing climate change.
''The Byrd Rule says that it has to have something, that when you do reconciliation, that each provision has to have something to do with the budget and with appropriations,'' Tenney said. ''And right now, this is going to be a real stretch under the Byrd Rule, so I'm not sure where they're going with this.
"I would love to see Sen. Tom Cotton [R-Ark.] weigh in on that as well. But [Sen.] Joe Manchin [D-W.Va.] seems to be going along with all this, and that's our problem,'' she said.
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