Below is this week’s congressional update by BakerHostetler’s Federal Policy team. We’ll continue to post in weeks when both chambers of Congress are in session.


  • Both chambers are in session together for the first time since July, as the Democratic Congress faces the most significant legislative crunch in years. In the next 10 days, they hope to fund the government for fiscal 2021 and raise the debt ceiling while also considering a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a second multitrillion-dollar bill that would raise taxes and expand safety net spending. No one, including Democratic leaders, currently knows how this will end.
  • President Joe Biden will be in New York for the United Nations General Assembly amid lingering criticism of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and fresh international controversy over a U.S. partnership with Australia on submarines.
  • Biden will also seek to reset the COVID-19 pandemic with a new proposal on worldwide vaccine allocation, as booster shots roll out in the U.S.


  • The House will be in session all week. The agenda includes a short-term funding bill to keep the government open beyond the Sept. 30 deadline as well as funding for disaster relief and Afghan refugees, and leaders may also attach a debt ceiling increase to the legislation.
  • After committees completed their work on Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her deputies are hashing out both the substance and the process in the House for that legislation as well as the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
  • The committee agenda is heavy on Foreign Affairs this week, as the committee meets on topics that include biological threats, administration engagement in East Asia and the Olympics.
  • The full list of this week’s House committee activity can be found here.


  • Senators begin their week continuing votes on Biden’s nominees and may also take up a slimmed-down voting rights bill.
  • Senators, for their part, are also feverishly working to finalize plans for reconciliation legislation, with a new wrinkle late Sunday as the parliamentarian ruled that immigration provisions cannot be included in the process.
  • The Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will hold a hearing on the use of big data, focused on implications for competition and consumers.
  • The current list of Senate committee activity can be found here.


  • World leaders will gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York from today through Sunday, after meeting virtually in 2020.
  • Biden tomorrow will be among the first leaders to address the assembly, facing skepticism from allies as he aims to push for global cooperation on a host of issues.

Wednesday, the president will host a virtual vaccine summit, and later in the week will host British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other world leaders at the White House.