Last week the Senate completed action on a bipartisan infrastructure bill (HR 3684) and then moved a budget resolution that will allow for a budget reconciliation bill. The House leadership announced they would come back from the summer break to take up the resolution during the week of August 23, 2021.
The infrastructure bill passed 69 to 30. It adds $550 billion in new spending and areas of need while renewing the $650 billion in current transportation funding for a total of $1.2 trillion. In addition to its economic impact (if passed by the House), some of the new provisions will help families with $55 billion for clean water improvements, including removing lead in drinking water. It will also expand access to the internet through the $65 billion for broadband expansion to remote and underserved areas.
The Senate approved the budget resolution by a vote of 50 to 49, eager to leave Washington after two consecutive weekend sessions. Senators agreed to drop the usual 50 hours of budget resolution debate and went directly to voting on various amendments to the proposed resolution. The Senate wrapped up its work at approximately 4:00 AM (Wednesday, August 11, 2021). If approved by the House, the resolution outlines up to $3.5 trillion in spending and revenue reductions (tax changes and increases). Most amendments voted on do not significantly impact the resolution but are designed for political messaging.
When the Senate returns, they will ultimately vote on the reconciliation bill. Over the several weeks of the August-September Labor Day break, there are ongoing discussions and debates on what makes it into that final reconciliation. The description posted by Democratic leadership includes some of CWLA’s key priorities, including an extension of the Child Tax Credit, expanded child care, and paid family and medical leave. Not all the items listed will likely make it into the final deal. That will be the subject of intense debate between House and Senate members.