Roe v. Wade debate likely stalls Tax Agenda on Capitol Hill

May 3, 2022

The Supreme Court draft opinion leaked May 2nd indicating that the high court might reverse the landmark abortion Roe v. Wade decision has thrown into question whether Democrats can advance their tax agenda by month’s end.

Democratic congressional leaders have been trying for months to pass their Build Back Better plan that would increase taxes on businesses and wealthy taxpayers. Recently, their plan was to pass a scaled-back version of the bill (that would likely include all the tax increases in the original legislation) before Memorial Day.

Last night’s leak from the Supreme Court has likely delayed this plan as Democrats will now focus on codifying the Roe v. Wade decision before the high court undoes it, which could occur within the next few months.

The House recently codified Roe v. Wade, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has called on the Senate to do the same.

“I urge the Senate to take urgently needed action to protect the rights of women, remove the filibuster, and codify Roe v. Wade into law as soon as possible,” Hoyer said in prepared remarks.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) confirmed that his chamber would seek action on legislation as soon as possible.

“Now that the court is poised to strike down Roe, it is my intention for the Senate to hold a vote on legislation to codify the right to an abortion in law,” he said.

Senate codifying Roe v. Wade will take time. The chamber must first remove the filibuster rule. Failing to do so means Republican opposition will stop the chamber from codifying Roe v. Wade. Currently, Democrats do not have the votes to end the filibuster and must take the time to garner that support before any legislative action can occur on the abortion ruling.

The time it takes for Senate Democrats to prepare and execute a vote codifying Roe v. Wade means they will have less time to garner support for their scaled-back Build Back Better plan.

The Senate adjourns for the Memorial Day recess on May 27th, which is roughly three-and-half weeks away.

Cobbling together enough support to end the filibuster, approve Roe v. Wade legislation, and pass a scaled-back Build Back Better plan within this timeframe will be a tall order.  It is likely that the tax agenda will be stalled until the Senate completes whatever action it takes on Roe v. Wade.

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