Democrats are planning to vote early and often in the new Congress, and to essentially dare Republicans to stand in their way on politically popular measures. In recent years, the fight over the momentum-halting filibuster in the Senate has centered on somewhat arcane issues like Cabinet and judicial confirmations. Going forward, look for arguments over the filibuster to instead focus on COVID-19 relief (which will almost certainly end up tied to the infrastructure bill) or a new Voting Rights Act.
If Republican senators hold those bills up by filibustering, Democrats would accuse them of standing in the way of helping Americans, or standing in the way of voting rights. Ending the filibuster would then be an easier sell.
As important as the filibuster requirement is, ending it is not the only way to get around Republican opposition. Democrats are already looking into expanding the process known as reconciliation, a quirk of Congress that allows certain bills to pass with simple majorities. The new Senate Budget Committee chair, with significant influence over reconciliation, will be Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is very supportive of Biden’s relief proposal.
Biden’s history of making concessions to Republicans to seal deals during his time as vice president has many Democrats concerned.