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Federal Legislative Update: Week of June 7, 2021

Congressional Outlook

The House is in recess while the Senate is in session (however, numerous House committees will hold virtual hearings and markups).

The Senate will take a final vote on the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (S. 1260), which authorizes $120 billion over five years for federal programs to support manufacturing, telecommunications, and research in the U.S., and provides $52 billion in emergency spending to aid domestic semiconductor manufacturing, with the aim of boosting U.S. competition with, and reducing reliance on, China. The Senate will vote on several of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominations, including Julien Neals to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey and Regina Rodriguez to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Colorado. The Senate will also vote on a motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the House-passed Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7), which enacts more stringent standards and larger penalties for claims of pay discrimination by employers.

Several Cabinet members this week will testify before various House and Senate committees and subcommittees to discuss President Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget request to Congress, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, and Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young.

On Wednesday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee will markup the five-year $547 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill, titled the “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act (H.R. 3684).” The legislation, unveiled on June 4, both aligns with many of President Biden’s infrastructure goals and follows in his footsteps by calling for substantial infrastructure spending increases. The updated bill text released on Monday afternoon also includes the list of 1,473 approved “Member Designated Project” (i.e., earmark) requests for highway/transit projects, totaling $5.662 billion (2,383 requests were submitted by 318 House members in late April) — the approved list can be viewed on pages 47-180 of the bill. The T&I Committee on Wednesday will also markup the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021 (H.R. 1915), which authorizes $50 billion over the next five years to address America’s crumbling wastewater infrastructure and local water quality challenges — including $40 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

President Biden will speak to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) regarding negotiations on an infrastructure package today or tomorrow before the president flies to Europe. But, in a note of caution, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that the latest GOP offer did not “meet the president’s bar.” The president has decreased his offer by $1 trillion, Psaki said, and Republicans have only come up a small percentage of that. On Friday, the White House released a statement on President Biden’s most recent discussion with Sen. Capito, stating that “The President expressed his gratitude for her effort and goodwill, but also indicated that the current offer did not meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs.” Biden has not put a hard end date on the bipartisan talks, though some administration officials have suggested he could end them as soon as this week.

Last Week

  • House Democrats offer five-year, $547 billion highway bill READ MORE
  • Biden rejects new GOP infrastructure offer but will meet with Sen. Capito again Monday READ MORE
  • Biden offers tax concession in infrastructure talks with key Republican READ MORE
  • Offering beer, babysitting and barbershop outreach, the White House launches new initiatives to boost vaccinations READ MORE
  • Biden unveiled plan to help Black businesses and homeowners during his visit to Tulsa READ MORE
  • Parliamentarian guidance deals blow to reconciliation strategy READ MORE
  • Yarmuth: Democrats likely to adopt Biden’s spending targets READ MORE
  • Biden administration moves to bring back endangered species protections undone under Trump READ MORE
  • Biden administration announces plan to share first 25 million Covid-19 doses abroad READ MORE
  • Democrat Melanie Stansbury wins US House seat for New Mexico vacated by Deb Haaland READ MORE
  • U.S. economy adds 559,000 jobs in May, as the recovery shows signs of strength amid headwinds READ MORE
  • Half of U.S. states to end Biden-backed pandemic unemployment early READ MORE
  • The Fed announces plans to sell off its corporate bond holdings READ MORE
  • Pelosi rules out having Biden create Jan. 6 commission READ MORE