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Federal Legislative Update: Week of October 25, 2021

Congressional Outlook

The House and Senate are in session this week.

The House will consider 8 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Protecting America’s First Responders Act (S. 1511), which provides a federal benefit of $370,000 and education assistance of $1,200 a month to the family of a first responder who dies or is permanently disabled in the line of duty. The House will also consider the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021 (H.R. 2119), which expands and reauthorizes federal domestic violence prevention and services grants at $270 million annually for each of Fiscal Years 2022 through 2026. The House may also consider bills representing President Biden’s main legislative agenda, including the Build Back Better (BBB) Act and the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), which the Senate passed on August 10. Currently, many are speculating that the House could vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Wednesday allowing for President Biden to sign the bill on Thursday before leaving for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Congress would also release the text of the BBB Act on Wednesday, with the House voting on the bill as early as Friday. The House may also consider the Protect Older Job Applicants (POJA) Act of 2021 (H.R. 3992) this week, which prohibits employers from limiting, segregating, or classifying job applicants based on their age.

Last week, the House passed the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act (H.R. 3110), which expands workplace accommodations for nursing mothers, on a bipartisan vote of 276-149. Democrats debated the details on the framework for the reconciliation bill including: taxes, paid leave, Medicare prescription drugs, SALT, and community college to name a few. Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said the that her party was “pretty much there now” during a CNN interview regarding negotiations for the pared-down version of the bill which still needs an agreed upon top-line number. Last Tuesday, the Senate passed, by Unanimous Consent, the State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (S. 3011). This legislation significantly expands the way communities can utilize their American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 Fiscal Recovery Funds and provides additional flexibility. The House still needs to pass this legislation for it to be signed into law.

The Senate will vote on at least  nominations seven executive and judicial nominations made by President Joe Biden, including: Douglas Parker to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health; Myrna Perez to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals; Jia Cobb to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia; Karen Williams to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey; Patricia Giles to be a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia; Michael Nachmanoff to be a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Sarala Nagala to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Connecticut. Several Senate committees will also hold votes on nominees, including: Samuel Bagenstos to be a General Counsel at the Department of Health and Human Services; Jose Javier Rodriguez to be an Assistant Secretary of Labor; Elizabeth de Leon Bhargava to be Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; and Amy Loyd to be Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the Department of Education. On Wednesday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Governmental Operations and Border Management will hold a hearing on “Improving Critical Energy Infrastructure.”

For the remainder of the week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management will hold a hearing titled “Are FEMA’s Assistance Programs Adequately Designed to Assist Communities Before, During, and After Wildfire?” The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on “Caring for America: Legislation to Support Patients, Caregivers, and Providers” and the House Committee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on “Ensuring Equity in Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.”

Last Week

  • Democrats near deal on Biden’s Build Back Better READ MORE
  • Fauci predicts vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 could be available early November READ MORE
  • White House details new international travel rules READ MORE
  • As deadline nears, Democrats scale back Biden’s budget bill READ MORE
  • The FDA authorizes Modera and J&J COVID vaccine boosters READ MORE
  • The debt ceiling remains a unanswered legislative question READ MORE
  • EPA finds PFAS chemicals contaminating river more toxic than previously assessed READ MORE
  • Biden holds private conversations to land his presidential agenda READ MORE