Becker & Poliakoff

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of September 20, 2021

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of September 20, 2021

The House

As recess concludes, House lawmakers return to D.C. to consider measures to fund the government before it shuts down in 10 days. They are likely to pass a temporary stopgap spending measure until a permanent appropriations bill is passed sometime in December. Though language has not been released, House Democrats are also expected to tie the stopgap measure to the expiring debt limit, increasing it past the 2022 midterms.

Several House committees will also meet this week. The House Rules Committee will debate the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act; the House Veterans Affairs Committee will discuss suicide prevention among veterans; and the Energy & Commerce Committee will discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on children. Additionally, the full House plans to vote on H.R. 3755, which would codify Roe v. Wade.

The House is coming up against Speaker Pelosi’s self-imposed September 27 deadline to pass the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill. However, House progressives have yet to see bill language for the budget reconciliation package, and they have made clear that one will not pass without the other.

The Senate

Senate Democrats are also struggling to keep the bipartisan infrastructure bill tethered to the reconciliation package. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) told President Biden last week that if the House does not pass the bipartisan bill by September 27, she will oppose the budget reconciliation bill. For the budget reconciliation plan to pass, every Senate Democrat must vote in its favor.

The Senate Parliamentarian also dashed Democrats’ reconciliation aspirations when she ruled that language providing undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship could not be included in the bill for lack of significant budgetary effects. Democrats disagreed, arguing that providing immigrants a pathway would make them eligible for federal aid.

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will markup antitrust and criminal justice bills, conduct a hearing on big data, and discuss changes to the Voting Rights Act. Additionally, the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee will consider cybersecurity strategies for federal and critical infrastructure, while the full Senate could hold a procedural vote on a bill to overhaul federal voting legislation.

The Administration

The Biden Administration is warning state and local governments of the risks of a U.S. default on its debt without congressional action. This comes after Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) again rejected calls from Treasury Secretary Yellen and Democrats to raise the debt ceiling in a bipartisan manner, arguing that Democrats are responsible for dealing with the limit given their ambitious spending plans.

The Treasury has taken “extraordinary measures” to keep the U.S. from defaulting, but those measures will run out in October. The Administration is warning that default could lead to a recession.

Becker’s Federal Lobbying Team will continue to monitor these developments as they evolve and will share with you as soon as information becomes available.