Without Reconciliation, legislation would have to be passed through regular order—which requires a 60 vote minimum to pass in the Senate. Reconciliation has limits and not every policy can be made into law through this process. Oftentimes, rulings from the Senate Parliamentarian determine what can and cannot be included in a Reconciliation package. Due to these limits, Reconciliation cannot completely pass every policy that a President might have campaigned on during an election. However, reconciliation can impact a lot of issue areas that matter to Black communities.
For example, voting rights, criminal justice reform, or civil rights legislation like the Equality Act aren’t policies that fit in the bucket of budgetary policies that reconciliation covers—and as a result, we’re stuck seeing these policies blocked by the 60 vote minimum known as the filibuster. Some advocates argue that voting rights legislation, like the Freedom to Vote Act, warrants an exemption from the filibuster, even if the procedure is not eliminated altogether. Some advocates also argue that civil rights legislation like the Equality Act or the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act should be exempted from the filibuster process and allowed to pass by a simple majority, especially since there already exists a number of exceptions to the filibuster, Stacey Abrams, voting rights champion and former minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, argues, “Protection of democracy is so fundamental that it should be exempt from the filibuster rules.”