Weekly Legislative Update
June 28, 2021
Congressional Outlook
The House is in session this week while the Senate is in recess until July 12. The House will vote on 11 bills under suspension of the rules, including the National Science Foundation for the Future Act (H.R. 2225), which authorizes more than $75 billion over five years for the National Science Foundation to create a new directorate to address “societal and national challenges” and expand several initiatives to broaden participation in STEM education and careers. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on a bill (H.R. 3005) which directs the Joint Library Committee to remove statues and busts in the U.S. Capitol complex of individuals associated with slavery, the Confederacy, and White supremacy; the IG Independence and Empowerment Act (H.R. 2662), which requires that presidents and federal agencies can only remove an inspector general for specific reasons and with notification to Congress; and possibly a resolution establishing a select House committee to investigate the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The House will also vote on the five-year, $715 billion Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act (H.R. 3684), which reauthorizes highway, transit, and rail programs from fiscal year (FY) 2022 through FY 2026. The legislation includes major increases for passenger rail and public transit, as well as $5.66 billion in funding for 1,473 highway and transit “Member Designated Projects” (i.e., earmarks) following a decade-long ban. The package also includes bills approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021 (H.R. 1915), and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Assistance, Quality, and Affordability (AQUA) Act of 2021 (H.R. 3291) and the Low-Income Water Customer Assistance Programs Act of 2021 (H.R. 3293), which reauthorize and expand Environmental Protection Agency water pollution and drinking water grant and aid programs. The surface transportation programs must be reauthorized by September 30, 2021, when the one-year extension of the FAST Act is set to expire.

Congress and the Biden Administration are weighing the next steps on a $1.2 trillion, eight-year Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework deal reached last Thursday between President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of 10 senators, looking to stave off complications from a second measure under budget reconciliation which will likely include many provisions from Biden’s proposed American Families Plan, focused on “human infrastructure”. Democratic leaders are crafting plans to pass an infrastructure package, which could include additional money for the expiring surface transportation programs, alongside a partisan budget reconciliation bill to advance the American Families Plan, including provisions related to climate, health care, and social welfare. Several Republicans have threatened to tank the deal, unless moderate Democrats promise to withhold support from the partisan reconciliation measure that could total more than $4 trillion. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she will only allow the bipartisan infrastructure deal to move forward in the House once the reconciliation measure is also advanced.

The House Appropriations Subcommittees on Interior—Environment; State—Foreign Operations; Defense; and Homeland Security will hold markups of their respective FY 2022 Appropriations bills this week. Additionally, the full House Appropriations Committee will hold markups of the FY 2022 302(b) subcommittee allocations and the FY 2022 Financial Services—General Government; Legislative Branch; Agriculture—Rural Development—FDA; Military Construction—Veterans Affairs; Interior—Environment; and State—Foreign Operations Appropriations bills. Markups of the remaining annual spending bills (including the Commerce—Justice—Science; Energy—Water Development; Labor—HHS—Education; and Transportation—HUD bills) will continue during the week of July 12 and the full House will begin consideration of the twelve spending bills during the weeks of July 19 and 26. For the first time since FY 2010, the annual spending bills will collectively include hundreds of approved “Community Project Funding” requests (i.e., earmarks), which are posted by the House Appropriations Committee on the same day as each subcommittee markup.
Week in Review