Becker & Poliakoff

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of February 1, 2021

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of February 1, 2021

Both chambers of Congress are speeding towards passing President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package through budgetary reconciliation, which bypasses the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster rule in favor of a simple majority vote. In a 50-50 Senate, the move would require every Democrat – including centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) – to vote for the measure with Vice President Kamala Harris supplying the tie-breaking vote. Biden will meet with ten Senate Republicans today to negotiate a compromise, which could further jeopardize the package’s chances of getting a unanimous Democratic vote.

House and Senate Committees are expected to receive reconciliation instructions this week with the hope that final votes will be taken just before last December’s stimulus package expires on March 14th. The push comes as the Senate continues to consider Biden’s Cabinet nominees for Homeland Security, Education, and Transportation.

The Administration
President Biden is expected to sign a series of immigration-related executive orders after postponing the event last week. He will also meet with ten Senate Republicans to discuss a $600 billion compromise COVID-19 proposal, which will be released in detail later. The Republican version is expected to offer up to $1,000 in stimulus checks. The meeting comes as the Administration dropped its plan to split Biden’s COVID-19 relief package into two separate bills.

The House
The House is expected to receive a FY2021 budget resolution today and consider it on Wednesday. The Rules Committee would take up the bill the day prior. Members have been advised that votes could extend into the weekend.

The following House Committees are expected to receive instructions for the budget proposal:

  • Agriculture
  • Education and Labor
  • Energy and Commerce
  • Financial Services
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Homeland Security
  • Natural Resources
  • Oversight and Reform
  • Science, Space and Technology
  • Small Business
  • Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Veterans’ Affairs
  • Ways and Means

The House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Health Subcommittees will also meet this week to examine states’ COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

The Senate
The Senate will vote tomorrow on the confirmations of Alex Mayorkas for Secretary of Homeland Security and Pete Buttigieg for Transportation Secretary. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to advance Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s nomination for UN Ambassador on Wednesday after holding her confirmation hearing last week. Commencing this week are the confirmation hearings for Agriculture nominee Tom Vilsack, Education nominee Miguel Cardona, and Labor nominee Martin Walsh.

The Senate will also take up COVID-19 legislation this week, with incoming Budget Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) set to introduce a budget resolution to accompany the House version with the hopes of adopting it by Friday.

The eleven Senate committees receiving budgetary instructions are:

  • Agriculture
  • Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
  • Commerce, Science and Transportation
  • Environment and Public Works
  • Finance
  • Foreign Relations
  • Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
  • Homeland Security
  • Indian Affairs
  • Small Business
  • Veterans’ Affairs

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.