Weekly Legislative Update
August 16, 2021
Congressional Outlook
The House and Senate are in recess this week.

Last week, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced in a “Dear Colleague” letter that the House “will return to session on the evening of August 23 to consider [the Senate-passed FY 2022] budget resolution and will remain in session until our business for the week is concluded. Among legislation we will likely take up is H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. This critical bill honors the legacy of John Lewis and the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement by restoring the protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were removed in the disastrous rulings in Shelby v. Holder in 2013 and in the recent Brnovich case.”

Once the House passes the Senate-passed FY22 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 14), congressional Democrats will be able to pass an expansive $3.5 trillion economic package under budget reconciliation to “enact the Build Back Better agenda,” including large swaths of President Joe Biden’s proposed American Jobs and Families Plans unveiled earlier this year. The FY22 budget resolution directs 13 House and 12 Senate committees to write their parts of the reconciliation package by Wednesday, September 15. The multiple bills marked up by the committees would then be bundled together by the House and/or Senate Budget Committees for floor debate as a single, mammoth bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reiterated on August 11 that the House will not vote on the $1.2 trillion Senate-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act until the Senate has also passed the budget reconciliation package (following adoption of the FY 2022 budget resolution by the Senate and House), which very likely won’t happen until October at the earliest. This means that the infrastructure bill and the budget reconciliation package will not be enacted into law until mid-late fall at the earliest. House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) issued a statement on August 10 indicating that he is dropping his demands for a formal House—Senate conference committee to reconcile differences between the House-passed INVEST in America Act and the Senate-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and that he is “committed to continuing to fight for transformational funding and policies in the reconciliation process that will reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector, support American manufacturing and ingenuity, and create infrastructure that is smarter, safer, and made to last.” By changing his focus to budget reconciliation, Chairman DeFazio appears to be backing away from trying to change the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate.

House Democrats have scheduled a caucus call for Tuesday at noon as they seek to resolve differences over the path forward and the sequencing of Biden’s two-track approach.
Week in Review