Weekly Legislative Update
April 5, 2021
Congressional Outlook
The House and Senate are both in recess this week. When the Senate returns on April 12, the chamber will consider several Biden Administration nominees: Polly Trottenberg to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation; Wendy Sherman to be Deputy Secretary of State; Gary Gensler to be Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission; and Brenda Mallory to be Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The Senate will also begin consideration of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (S. 937), which provides the Department of Justice and local law enforcement more tools to combat hate crimes, especially in the Asian-American community.

On April 2, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that the Biden Administration would be delaying the release of its top-line spending budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2022, further putting off the start of the annual process of funding the government despite earlier indications that the proposal would be released last week. “We’re planning to release the discretionary request soon,” said Rob Friedlander, an OMB spokesperson. The White House did not commit to releasing the budget this week, though members of Congress expect the release will not be significantly delayed. Additionally, the White House is not even using the term “skinny budget” or “budget blueprint” to describe the forthcoming release, signaling that the proposal will likely be limited to narrow figures on defense and nondefense discretionary spending.

The White House has said that President Joe Biden is open to input from House and Senate Republicans regarding his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year American Jobs Plan, first unveiled on March 31. Congressional Democrats will also hold meetings on the proposal after the Spring recess, but Administration officials have made clear that President Biden is not ruling out trying to pass a package without GOP support. Biden would not say Monday where there was room for negotiation on his proposal. Democrats are preparing to draft legislative language for the American Jobs Plan, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) telling her caucus she hopes to pass the measure by July 4.
Week in Review