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January 15, 2021

Learn the basics of the budget reconciliation process

Budget reconciliation is a process that permits legislation impacting revenues and spending to pass the Senate with 51 votes rather than the 60-vote filibuster threshold for most other legislation. Spending, revenue, or the debt limit (though rare) may be addressed under reconciliation together or separately, but only once per budget resolution, and only one budget resolution can be approved for each fiscal year.

There are two opportunities for reconciliation in calendar 2021. The same was true in 2017, when Republicans used an FY2017 resolution to unsuccessfully attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and then an FY2018 resolution to begin the process of writing the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. A high-level article from Washington Council Ernst & Young LLP outlines the process.