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President Biden addressed a joint session of congress on April 29 and proposed vast new federal social programs such as free community college and subsidized childcare for low-income and middle-class people, as well as proposing changes in policy such as a comprehensive immigration bill and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

Assuming that Biden can keep moderate Democrats in line for party-line votes on these bills, how much of this can be done by using the budget reconciliation process to avoid filibusters? Reading about budget reconciliation rules, I have a very hard time understanding whether and how they would actually apply to the various pieces. Would all such legislation have to be wrapped up in a package as part of a single yearly budget reconciliation bill? Issues like immigration and voting rights seem to me like they have very little to do with government spending, but if they have some budget implication, is that enough? Does it depend completely on how sympathetic the senate's parliamentarian is? Are such rulings bound by precedent, or can the current parliamentarian just do whatever they want?

I'm hearing claims that the whole thing can be done through budget reconciliation, but that seems counterintuitive to me. Can anyone break this down into smaller pieces and discuss which pieces probably would qualify for the reconciliation process and which wouldn't?

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    There's quite a bit of relevant material here: washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/05/04/… – Ben Crowell May 4 at 18:23
  • The government seems quite adept at making words mean what they want them to mean. The ACA survived a Supreme Court case by calling the penalty a tax. – Barmar May 4 at 19:25

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