The TRP Tip Sheet
July 29, 2021
Featuring a daily Capitol Hill update, news clips from our Washington insiders, and links to our trove of federal policy resources.
— SENATE ADVANCES INFRASTRUCTURE VEHICLE FOLLOWING BREAKTHROUGH ON NEGOTIATIONS. Senators voted [67-32] to advance the legislative vehicle for the bipartisan infrastructure framework after the "G20" group resolved lingering issues and struck a final agreement.

— HOUSE BEGINS MARATHON 'MINIBUS' DEBATE. Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee is set to mark up its first three FY 2022 spending bills next week, starting with the Ag-FDA, Energy-Water, and MilCon-VA measures.

— EDUCATION DEPARTMENT RELEASES ARP FUNDING TO SUPPORT HOMELESS STUDENTS. States are required to submit plans for their use of these funds within 60 days.

THE LATEST ON BIDEN EXECUTIVE ORDERS. For more on the Biden administration's executive actions, click here to view TRP's comprehensive tracking document.
— SENATE ADVANCES INFRASTRUCTURE VEHICLE FOLLOWING BREAKTHROUGH ON NEGOTIATIONS. Senators voted [67-32] to advance the legislative vehicle for the bipartisan infrastructure framework after the "G20" group resolved lingering issues and struck a final agreement. The agreement includes $550 billion toward new physical infrastructure investments, and is partially offset by a series of funding streams pertaining to the delay of a Trump-era Medicare rebate rule, recouping unused COVID-19 relief funds and fraudulently-paid federal unemployment benefits, and reinstating certain Superfund fees, among others.

  • Next Steps. The Senate will likely work through the weekend to attempt to clear the infrastructure legislation, after which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is expected to quickly pivot to the Democratic budget resolution for fiscal year (FY) 2022. While leadership is confident that the resolution has the 50 votes needed to kick off the budget reconciliation process, disagreements over the $3.5 trillion price tag could threaten progress on crafting a filibuster-proof package of President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan priorities.

A summary of the funding provisions and offsets for the bipartisan infrastructure framework can be viewed below.
  • Roads/Bridges/Major Projects — $110 billion for new, dedicated grant programs to support road and bridge repair. The bill also contains the Senate's surface transportation reauthorization titles out of the Commerce and Energy & Public Works Committees.

  • Broadband — $65 billion in grant funding for states to use toward broadband deployment. The bill also expands eligible private activity bond projects to include broadband.

  • Water — $55 billion toward water infrastructure projects, including lead pipe remediation and PFAS-related projects. The measure also includes $23.4 billion for the bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (summary). Further, the bill includes $17.3 billion for waterway and coastal infrastructure, waterway improvements, and port infrastructure.

  • Power Grid — $73 billion in energy- and grid-related funding for: (1) grid reliability and resiliency; (2) critical minerals and supply chains for clean energy technology; and (3) critical energy technologies such as carbon capture, hydrogen, direct air capture, and energy efficiency. The package also includes energy demonstration projects from the bipartisan Energy Act of 2020 (summary). Further, the bill includes a 48C Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit.

  • Rail — $66 billion in funding for the Amtrak National Network, as well as support for the repair backlog in the Northeast Corridor. The funding will also support expanding intercity passenger rail, as well as freight rail safety at rail-highway grade crossings.

  • Resiliency —$46 billion toward several resiliency-related efforts, including: (1) cybersecurity for critical infrastructure systems; (2) waste management; (3) flood mitigation; (4) wildfires, droughts, and coastal resiliency; (5) ecosystem restoration; and (6) weatherization.

  • Safety — $11 billion for highway and pedestrian safety programs, including the Safe Streets program.

  • Airports — $25 billion for the Airport Improvement grant program to support runway, gate, and taxiway improvements. The bill also establishes a new Airport Terminal Improvement program for terminals, concessions, and multimodal connections. Further, funding could be used to bolster Air Traffic Control (ATC) infrastructure.
Funding Streams

  • $205 billion from repurposing certain unused COVID-19 relief funds (CBO score & estimate).
  • $50 billion from recouping fraudulently paid federal unemployment insurance (OMB estimate).
  • $49 billion from delaying Medicare Part D rebate rule (CBO score).
  • $53 billion from certain states returning unused federal UI supplement (CBO estimate).
  • $20 billion from sales of future spectrum auctions (CBO score).
  • $67 billion from proceeds of the February 2021 c-band spectrum auction (CBO estimate). 
  • $56 billion in economic growth resulting from a 33 percent return on investment in long-term infrastructure projects (CBO analysis).
  • $28 billion from applying information reporting requirements to cryptocurrency (JCT score).
  • $21 billion from extending fees on GSEs (CBO score). 
  • $13 billion from reinstating certain Superfund fees (JCT score).
  • $8.7 from the mandatory sequester (CBO score). 
  • $6 billion from extending customs user fees (CBO score).
  • $6 billion in sales from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (CBO score).
  • $3 billion from reducing Medicare spending on discarded medications from large, single-use drug vials (CBO score).
  • $2.9 billion from extending available interest smoothing options for defined benefit pension plans (CBO Score).
— HOUSE BEGINS MARATHON 'MINIBUS' DEBATE.' House lawmakers will meet for legislative business to continue its appropriations activities to close out the July session. For today, For today, the House will begin consideration of a seven-bill "minibus" (amendments) containing the bills for Labor-HHS-Education, Ag-FDA, Energy-Water, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA (MilCon-VA), Transportation-HUD (T-HUD), and Financial Services and General Government (FSGG). This appropriations vehicle is expected to pass on party lines by the end of this week, leaving only the Homeland Security and Defense appropriations bills as the outstanding items on the lower chamber's government funding agenda. Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee is set to mark up its first three FY 2022 spending bills next week, starting with the Ag-FDA, Energy-Water, and MilCon-VA measures.

— EDUCATION DEPARTMENT RELEASES ARP FUNDING TO SUPPORT HOMELESS STUDENTS. The Department of Education announced the release of a $600 million American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding tranche to support homeless students under the Homeless Children and Youth program.
  • States are required to submit plans for their use of these funds within 60 days.


— BIDEN ISSUES PROPOSED 'BUY AMERICAN' RULE. The Biden administration announced a new notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks to boost "Buy American" requirements.
  • Specifically, the rule seeks to: (1) close loopholes by raising the domestic content threshold; (2) establish new price preferences for critical goods; and (3) bolster transparency and accountability.

— CDC UPDATES MASKING GUIDANCE FOR FULLY VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its interim public health recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals to reflect new evidence on the COVID-19 delta variant.
  • The updated guidance recommends that fully vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
  • CDC is also recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

— WHITE HOUSE ISSUES NATIONAL SECURITY MEMO ON CYBER. The Biden administration issued a National Security Memorandum (NSM) that focuses on improving cybersecurity for critical infrastructure control systems.
  • The NSM directs the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop cybersecurity performance goals for critical infrastructure of "essential services" such as water, power, and transportation.
  • It also formally establishes the Industrial Control System Cybersecurity (ICS) Initiative — a voluntary, collaborative effort between the federal government and critical infrastructure stakeholders to deploy technology and systems that provide threat visibility, indicators, detections, and warnings.

— BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES NEW GUIDANCE ON LONG COVID. The Biden administration announced a new package of guidance documents and resources aimed at supporting patients with long-term COVID-19 (Long COVID). This includes:
  • Guidance from the Office of Civil Rights at HHS explaining that long COVID can be a disability under various civil rights laws;
  • Guidance from Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services that provides information about schools’ and public agencies’ responsibilities regarding reasonable modifications for students with long COVID;
  • Resources from the Administration for Community living regarding community-based services for long COVID patients; and
  • Information about long COVID accommodations in the workplace from The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the Department of Labor.
Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan took aim at big technology companies in her first appearance before Congress as the agency’s head, saying online digital platforms are partly to blame for a surge in fraud reported by Americans during the pandemic. Ms. Khan, a longtime critic of large tech companies, didn’t name any online platforms or specify actions the FTC might take. She could face legal hurdles in targeting online platforms, however, as a law known as Section 230 generally shields internet companies from liability for the actions of their users.

In a major step against climate change, President Joe Biden is proposing a return to aggressive Obama-era vehicle mileage standards over five years, according to industry and government officials briefed on the plan. He’s then aiming for even tougher anti-pollution rules after that to forcefully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and nudge 40% of U.S. drivers into electric vehicles by decade’s end. The proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation reflect Biden’s pledge to attack climate change but also balance concerns of the auto industry, which is urging a slower transition to zero-emission electric vehicles.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Wednesday that the amount of funding for an electric vehicle charging network included in the bipartisan Senate infrastructure plan is about even with what was in President Biden’s proposal. Biden’s original American Jobs Plan would have provided $174 billion to “win the [electric vehicle] market,” though it was not clear how this money would be allocated. Part of the plan included building out a network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations. 

Labor-management relations are drawing the attention of environmental, social and governance investors, who are urging companies toward more transparency on topics such as executive-to-worker compensation ratios, racial and gender pay disparities, and the treatment of all workers. This mounting shareholder pressure for fairer workplace policies may soon converge with legislation passed by the House and pending in the Senate that would affirm labor rights, with some experts saying the outside pressure and legislation might be necessary to ensure workers have adequate power at the bargaining table.