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Federal Legislative Update: Week of October 12, 2021

Congressional Outlook

The House is in session on Tuesday for votes and House committees will conduct virtual/hybrid committee work for the remainder of the week. The Senate stands adjourned until 3pm on Monday, October 18.

The House is returning to Washington to vote on raising the debt limit through at least early December, which passed in the Senate last week (more on that below). The House Rules Committee will meet this afternoon, setting up a vote for the debt limit bill (S. 1301) this evening. The debt limit bill will be considered in the rule that guides debate for the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act (H.R. 3110), the Protect Older Job Applicants Act (H.R. 3992) and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021 (H.R. 2119). If the House adopts the rule for the three bills, S. 1301 will be considered passed, adding to the debt limit by $480 billion. Once finished with the debt limit measure and other business, the House will not vote again until October 19.

In a Monday letter to her House colleagues, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) remarked on the chamber’s upcoming legislative agenda, including the Build Back Better Act (BBB) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, stating that “it is essential that difficult decisions must be made very soon.” These comments come as Democrats have backed off their original $3.5 trillion number for the reconciliation bill and have begun to trim the social package down to roughly $2 trillion. She continued by saying that “Overwhelmingly, the guidance I am receiving from Members is to do fewer things well so that we can still have a transformative impact on families in the workplace and responsibly address the climate crisis”. House Democratic leadership is hoping the House will pass the Senate-passed $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) by October 31, however, they  must come to an agreement on a “topline” funding level for the BBB Act with the 50-member Senate Democratic Caucus beforehand.

During the rest of the Committee Work week in the House, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce will hold a hearing on several pieces of legislation to strengthen manufacturing and competitiveness. On Thursday, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on the future of forecasting to discuss weather readiness. The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife will also hold a hearing on Colorado River drought conditions and response measures.

Last week, the Senate considered and voted on the House message accompanying S. 1301, which would raise the debt limit through at least December 3, 2021. The Senate passed the measure on a vote of 50-48, after clearing the all-important filibuster, which requires a 60-vote majority to consider a bill. 11 Senate Republicans joined all 50 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus by a vote of 61-38 to advance consideration of the bill. This came as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reached an agreement on Thursday, signaling an end to the bipartisan stand-off, for now. Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, have vowed to withhold support for raising the debt limit again in December, sticking to his original comments that Democrats should raise the debt limit through the budget reconciliation process. On Friday, Senator McConnell sent a letter to President Joe Biden underscoring his point.

Last Week

  • House Set to Temporarily Raise Debt Limit READ MORE
  • Lawmakers Set for Fall Legislative Fights READ MORE
  • K-12 Cybersecurity Act Signed into Law READ MORE
  • Many Fear Being Left Behind as Democrats Trim Spending Bill READ MORE
  • Merck asks US FDA to Authorize Anti-COVID Pill READ MORE
  • Biden Calls Foes of Economic Plans ‘Complicit’ in U.S. Decline READ MORE
  • Biden Pushes Back on Opposition to Vaccine Mandates READ MORE
  • Climate Hawks Reject Compromise in Reconciliation READ MORE
  • Here’s how U.S. government agencies are planning to adapt to climate change READ MORE
  • Biden restores protections for Bears Ears monument, 4 years after Trump downsized it READ MORE
  • Senate passes bill to raise debt ceiling into early December READ MORE
  • Human Induced Climate Change has Impacted 85 Percent of the World READ MORE
  • Supply Shortages cause Jumps in Oil and Natural Gas Prices READ MORE