Earlier this week, the US Senate voted to begin debate over stimulus legislation that would use a budget reconciliation process to avoid a potential filibuster by Senate republicans. Budget reconciliation requires only a simple majority of the Senate for passage and comes into play when legislation is deemed to have an impact on the federal budget in some way. Democratic leadership in the Senate has determined that budget reconciliation is valid for consideration of more than doubling the federal minimum wage. Their reasoning is that the increased wages under the higher federal minimum would cause fewer employed workers to rely on federal assistance programs (food stamps, housing vouchers, etc.), thereby necessitating fewer federal dollars being appropriated to direct assistance programs. Admittedly, the logic is a stretch, but with the Senate evenly split between republicans and democrats, Vice President Harris would be voting to break any tie in the upper chamber. A formal decision on whether the matter qualifies under the budget reconciliation process will ultimately be made by the US Senate Parliamentarian. As an aside, Obamacare was enacted back in 2010 through the use of the budget reconciliation process.