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Federal Legislative Update: Week of September 27, 2021

Congressional Outlook

The House and Senate are both in session this week.

The House will consider 20 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Senate-passed K-12 Cybersecurity Act of 2021 (S. 1917), which directs the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to work with teachers, school administrators, other federal departments and private sector organizations to complete a study of cybersecurity risks specific to K-12 educational institutions, including risks related to securing sensitive student and employee records and challenges related to remote-learning. The House may also consider the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act (H.R. 3110), which expands workplace accommodations for nursing mothers; the POJA Act of 2021 (H.R. 3992), which prohibits employers from limiting, segregating, or classifying job applicants based on their age; and 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 Senate will vote on five nominations made by President Joe Biden, including Jessica Lewis to be Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. On Thursday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing to examine school reopening during COVID-19, with a focus on supporting students, educators, and families.

Last week, the House passed a Continuing Resolution (CR; H.R. 5305), by a party-line vote of 220–211. The Senate will vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the CR on Monday evening, which requires 60 votes to overcome an expected filibuster. If passed, the CR would extend government funding at enacted FY 2021 levels through December 3;suspend the debt ceiling until December 16, 2022; extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) authorization through Dec. 3, 2021; include $28.6 billion to address various natural disasters in 2020 and 2021; and include $6.3 billion to support Afghan evacuees. If the CR is filibustered in the Senate on Monday, congressional Democratic leaders will likely consider and vote on a new CR bill that does not contain the debt ceiling provision, in order to avoid a government shutdown beginning October 1.

The House passed the $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 (H.R. 4350) on a 316-113 vote last Thursday. The bill includes funding $24 billion over what was requested by the Biden Administration. It now heads to the Senate where many expect significant changes, and following Senate passage, it will likely be conferenced with the House ahead of President Biden’s signature.

On Sunday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent a “Dear Colleague” letter highlighting the course ahead for the House Democratic Caucus for the week of September 27, including much of President Biden’s legislative agenda (the Build Back Better Act (BBB) and the bipartisan infrastructure framework (BIF)). Today, the House begins debate on the bipartisan Senate-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), with an expected vote on Thursday, September 30. Tonight, the House Democratic Caucus will meet to determine if there are enough votes for passage of both the reconciliation and infrastructure bills. Regarding the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act, Speaker Pelosi remarked that it’s “self-evident” that the Democrats’ reconciliation bill will be smaller than the original $3.5 trillion plan. White House officials said President Biden and many of his Cabinet members spent the weekend reaching out to lawmakers about the two pieces of legislation, and this will continue into this week.

Last Week

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  • CDC Backs COVID-19 Booster Shot for Older and High-risk People READ MORE
  • House passes major defense policy bill READ MORE
  • The House Passes a Bill Meant to Counter Texas-Style Abortion Bans READ MORE
  • Biden Receives Vaccine Booster READ MORE
  • Republicans Warn Reconciliation May Stall Bipartisan R&D Proposals READ MORE
  • Biden Plan Seeks to Expand Education, from Pre-K to College READ MORE
  • Domestic Flight Vaccine Mandate: Not off the table READ MORE
  • Pfizer Testing Oral Drug to prevent COVID-19 READ MORE
  • PFAS Georgia Rulings Open Door to Downstream Liabilities READ MORE
  • Biden Administration moves to reissue DACA after court ruling READ MORE
  • FDA Commissioner: COVID-19 Delta wave could be “Last major surge” READ MORE