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Johnson set to talk future party-line legislating with Senate GOP

Speaker Mike Johnson will attend the Senate GOP’s lunch on Wednesday to discuss ideas for future party-line legislation if former President Donald Trump wins in November, according to a person familiar with the plans.

Johnson is attempting to put together a package of conservative policy priorities that could — in theory — pass during a second Trump term, should Republicans win big this fall. Passing legislation through the so-called reconciliation process only requires a simple majority in the Senate, avoiding the 60 votes required to break a filibuster.

But the power of reconciliation comes with limits: Measures in the bill must be deemed relevant to the national budget, a standard that can be difficult for lawmakers to pinpoint.

Historically, issues like tax and health care reform have been ripe topics for reconciliation. Senate Democrats passed a reconciliation package last term, known as the Build Back Better Act, which included a number of climate and social policy efforts that would have otherwise failed to pass in the then-evenly divided Senate.

Any effort to pass a reconciliation package without complete GOP control of Washington next year is highly unlikely. Nonetheless, Johnson’s meeting with Republicans this week shows an intentional effort at early negotiations around any potential deal, theoretically teeing up a bill for Trump to act on quickly should he retake the White House.

Notably, Trump is also slated to meet separately with House and Senate Republicans on Thursday to discuss the party agenda. The former president’s input is likely to play a significant role in any sort of policy formations.

Punchbowl News first reported the Johnson appearance.