Becker Spotlight: Legislative Outlook

Becker Spotlight: Legislative Outlook

Congress has only five legislative days until its Thanksgiving recess and just ten days until December 3 when the government funding stopgap expires. While Congress is set to conclude its 2021 business on December 10, Members may stay in town past that point to take up last-minute legislation.

Legislative Outlook:

Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal): President Biden will host a signing ceremony on Monday, November 15 to officially enact the bipartisan infrastructure deal.

Build Back Better Act (Budgetary Reconciliation Bill): Following hesitancy from House Moderates, the House will hold off on a floor vote on the reconciliation bill until the CBO releases its score (cost estimate). It will release its score in piecemeal with a final package being released the week of Nov 22. The cost estimate will determine whether House Moderates will support the final bill or if Leadership needs to further tailor the bill to assuage their concerns.

The Senate’s timeline to pass the bill is more uncertain, although lawmakers are not likely to pass it before Thanksgiving as previously hoped. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is still withholding his support and the Senate Parliamentarian still needs to review the finalized bill and any amendments to ensure they comply with the Chamber’s reconciliation rules. These factors will take considerable time to resolve.

National Defense Reauthorization: The House has passed its version of the NDAA, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is beginning to receive pushback on both sides of the aisle for not scheduling floor time for it soon. Once scheduled, floor time should last for roughly a week.

Government Shutdown: The continuing resolution will expire on December 3, at which time the government will shut down unless lawmakers pass another funding bill. There’s no agreement on a top-line number, although both chambers and their respective appropriation committees have released their own appropriations bills.

Debt Ceiling Extension: Republicans are insisting that they will not aid Democrats in extending the limit again once it is set to expire sometime in December. Treasury Secretary Yellen will be a key player in these negotiations, as her insight into the nation’s finances will help her determine when an extension is needed.

Nominations: The Senate has scheduled numerous Administration nominees for a final confirmation vote, including for judges and ambassadors. Its nominating committees are also still considering nominees for posts at various agencies.

Remaining 2021 Congressional Schedule:

  • Week of Nov. 15 – Both chambers in session.
  • Week of Nov. 22 – Thanksgiving Recess.
  • Week of Nov. 30 – Both chambers in session.
  • Week of Dec. 6 – Both chambers in session.
  • Week of Dec. 13 – Both chambers scheduled to be in session.
  • Week of Dec. 20 – Unclear if legislative business will spill into Christmas week.