Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he plans to “make it hard” for Senate Democrats to use budget reconciliation — a process that allows the majority to bypass the minority on certain bills — to pass trillion-dollar spending bills on their own.

WASHINGTON, DC — JUNE 22: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks as (L-R) … [+] Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senate Minority Whip Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) listen during a news briefing after the weekly Senate Republican Policy Luncheon at the U.S. Capitol June 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Senate Republicans held a weekly luncheon to discuss the GOP agenda. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Key Facts

McConnell said in Kentucky there is a process in which Democrats can pass a bill “without a single Republican,” but, he added, “We’re gonna make it hard for them.”

McConnell hinted at appealing to the “few Democrats left in rural America” and centrist who “may find this offensive,” likely referencing Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

McConnell noted “not a single” GOP senator voted for the $1.9 trillion relief bill President Joe Biden signed in March, but said Kentucky communities will get “a lot more money.”

McConnell blamed the stimulus spending for rising inflation and labor shortages, urging localities to “spend it wisely” because “hopefully, this windfall doesn’t come along again.”

Key Background

McConnell has made a habit of positioning himself as the chief obstructionist for Democratic administrations. In 2010 he said Republicans’ “top political priority” should be to “deny President Obama a second term in office.” Many Democrats saw echoes of that statement when, in May, McConnell declared, “100% of my focus is on stopping this new administration.”

Big Number

$6 trillion. That’s roughly the size of Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) reconciliation proposal, which would tie in elements of Biden’s American Families Plan as well as expansions of Medicare. Manchin has dismissed Sanders’ proposal, however, stating last month, “I have a hard time swallowing that.”

What To Watch For

Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will have to walk a narrow tightrope in the coming months as they attempt to keep Republicans on board with the bipartisan infrastructure deal while crafting a reconciliation plan that appeases both progressive and moderate Democrats without scaring off Republicans.

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