Becker & Poliakoff

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of October 11, 2021

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of October 11, 2021

The Administration

President Biden faces compounding challenges with the embattled infrastructure deal, the ongoing pandemic, and record-low approval numbers – all of which threaten Democrats’ already slim majorities in Congress.

The United States and the Taliban had their first formal meeting last weekend following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The two sides met in Doha, Qatar and discussed the need to ensure safe passage for remaining U.S. citizens, Afghan partners, and foreign nationals. U.S. representatives also emphasized the importance of humanitarian aid and ensuring women and girls can meaningfully participate in Afghan society.

Last week, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He discussed U.S.-China trade relations. The sides agreed they would consult each other on “certain outstanding issues,” while Representative Tai “emphasized U.S. concerns relating to China’s state-led, non-market policies and practices that harm American workers, farmers and businesses.”

Additionally, 136 nations joined in a global minimum tax deal which sets a 15% minimum rate for large companies while curbing tax avoidance. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen hopes that Congress will approve legislation to implement the deal. Some experts say the deal could be codified via legislation or budget reconciliation while Senate Republicans insist it must be ratified like a treaty, which requires a 2/3 Senate majority.

The Senate

The Senate is in recess this week.

Last week, the Senate voted to extend the debt limit through December 3rd, avoiding an all-but-certain economic crisis that would have caused the U.S. to default on its debts. The vote passed after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vacated his earlier statement that Republicans would not support raising the limit. Although 10 Republicans voted to raise the limit on a limited basis, Leader McConnell insists that Democrats must go it alone in finding a long-term solution to the debt ceiling after December 3rd.

The House

This week, the House will host numerous hearings, including:

  • The Financial Services Committee to discuss artificial intelligence.
  • The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on ensuring America’s weather-readiness.
  • The Natural Resources Committee to discuss the impacts of abandoned offshore oil and gas infrastructure.

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.