Weekly Legislative Update
June 21, 2021
Congressional Outlook
The House and Senate are both in session this week. The House will vote on 18 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act of 2021 (H.R. 1374), which authorizes $90 million a year for each of FYs 2022—2026 for the Energy Department to assist states with funding for security plans to protect energy infrastructure from cyberattacks and physical threats. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act of 2021 (H.R. 2062), which lowers the burden of proof for workplace age- or disability-related discrimination claims to allow mixed-motive claims in which a protected status is a motivating factor; the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act (H.R. 239), which requires that female veterans not be charged copays for contraception; the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act (H.R. 1443), which amends the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to require financial institutions to inquire whether businesses seeking credit are owned by individuals self-identifying as LGBTQ; and three Senate-passed Congressional Review Act disapproval resolutions (S.J. Resolutions 13, 14, and 15), which nullify and overturn Trump Administration rules finalized between September 2020—January 2021 which: provides employers with additional information during the conciliation process to resolve discrimination claims outside of court; rolls back Obama-era methane monitoring and leak-repair rules on oil and gas production facilities; and applies federal standards on interest rates, instead of possibly stricter state ones, for loans that originate with banks but are offered by nonbank institutions, respectively.

The Senate will vote on several of President Joe Biden’s executive nominees, including Chris Fonzone to be General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Kiran Ahuja to be Director of the Office of Personnel Management. The Senate will also vote on the motion to proceed to the For the People Act of 2021 (S. 2093), sweeping legislation which addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics for the three branches of government. 60 votes are needed to advance consideration of the bill and overcome a filibuster, which is very unlikely.

Four House Appropriations subcommittees will markup their respective fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills on Thursday and Friday: Financial Services—General Government; Legislative Branch; Agriculture—Rural Development—FDA; and Military Construction—Veterans Affairs. The remaining eight subcommittees will markup their FY 2022 spending bills on June 28, June 30, and July 12, with full Committee markups being held between June 29 and July 16. Lists of the FY 2022 Community Project Funding requests (i.e., earmarks) submitted by House members which were successfully included in each respective appropriations bill will be made publicly available the same day as the subcommittee markup is held.

Several Cabinet members this week will testify before House and Senate appropriations and authorizing committees and subcommittees to discuss President Biden’s FY 2022 budget request to Congress, including Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough; Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm; Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge; and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

President Biden still sees sticking points in a draft bipartisan Senate infrastructure plan totaling $579 billion in new spending (with total spending around $1 trillion) over five years, as top White House aides warned on Monday that the Biden Administration continues to explore other legislative pathways and will not support certain tax increases as part of a final deal. White House aides fanned out for appearances across several networks on Monday to reiterate Biden’s core goals in a deal. Biden will host bipartisan groups of lawmakers this week to discuss the plans. A group of 21 senators (11 Republicans and 10 Democrats) — including moderate Democrats Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — support the draft proposal. In addition to the group’s proposal to tie future federal gas tax increases to a measure of inflation, the White House has also expressed opposition to re-purposing COVID-19 relief money and a fee on electric vehicles in the talks. As talks continue, Congressional Democrats have been advancing an alternate plan to push through a $6 trillion package through budget reconciliation, which could pass without Republican votes but would face restrictions. That effort is also facing headwinds from moderate Democrats, who have balked at the price-tag and expressed their desire for a bipartisan deal.
Week in Review