Weekly Legislative Update
July 6, 2021
Congressional Outlook
The House and Senate are in recess this week; the House will return to Washington on July 19 (however, virtual committee hearings/markups will occur during the week of July 12) while the Senate returns on July 12.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will likely release, within the next two weeks, his Committee’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget resolution, an early outline of which called for nearly $6 trillion in spending and $2.4 trillion in revenue for a package — plus $600 billion in savings from lower prescription drug costs — that would net $3 trillion in deficit spending over the next decade. An identical FY22 budget resolution must pass both the House and Senate in order to formally kickstart the budget reconciliation process, which will allow Democrats to pass President Biden’s $1.8 trillion American Families Plan (and other parts of Biden’s $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan left out of the recent $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework) with only 51 votes in the Senate instead of the 60 votes normally needed to overcome a filibuster and advance legislation. While the FY22 budget resolution could provide for as much as $6 trillion in new spending, a compromise that can pass both chambers is likely to be somewhere around $3 trillion. The budget resolution instructions will also instruct the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees how much revenue to raise for offsetting some of the spending.

House Budget Committee Democrats have decided to forgo their own FY22 budget resolution and will wait to see what Senate Democrats can muscle through their 50-50 chamber. House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) said he expects the Senate Budget Committee to provide an updated framework this week, which will allow House Democrats to judge whether it is shaping up to be something they can support. However, that timeline could slip as Yarmuth has also reportedly heard that Sanders is struggling to unify his committee around a proposal. Yarmuth said he was told that Sanders has only locked in support of nine of the 11 Democrats on his committee, although he did not know who the two holdouts were. The FY22 budget resolution will likely go straight to the Senate floor in late July, skipping a committee markup that would end up in a deadlocked vote anyway.

Negotiations on additional specifics of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, agreed to on June 24 by President Biden and a bipartisan group of 10 senators (led by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema [D-AZ] and Rob Portman [R-OH]), regarding both policy items and proposed financing sources, is still ongoing. A larger bipartisan group of 21 senators who support the deal have divvied up the various spending (highway funding, airports, broadband, etc.) and revenue-raising (IRS enforcement, unused COVID relief funds, etc.) categories in the framework into working groups that are responsible for drafting legislative text. Some of the Senate groups are expected to have their work finished as early as this week. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said that the Senate will “concurrently” take up the bipartisan infrastructure deal and the FY22 budget resolution in July while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said that the House would vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill only after the Senate had also approved the budget reconciliation package, meaning the battle over the two bills will likely extend into September or beyond. These plans could also run into trouble as Congress confronts other critical housekeeping tasks, such as lifting the U.S. debt ceiling and averting a government shutdown by September 30.

On Tuesday, President Biden will receive a briefing from the White House COVID-19 Response Team and will deliver remarks on COVID-19 and vaccinations. On Wednesday, Biden will travel to Crystal Lake, Illinois to speak about the American Families Plan at McHenry County College, alongside Reps. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Sean Casten (D-IL).
Week in Review