By: Adam J. Higgins
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.
- Congressional Democrats are braced for “a time of intensity” this week as they hope to keep the government open, approve bipartisan infrastructure legislation, and reach consensus on their $3.5 trillion plan to increase taxes and safety-net spending.
- President Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and their deputies must find a way to unite fractious Democrats amid sharp disagreements on health policy, taxes, and climate goals, as well as process and tactics.
- Biden plans to spend most of the week cajoling Democrats to support his agenda but will travel to Chicago on Wednesday to tout vaccine mandates for businesses.
- The House will be in session all week. Leaders hope to approve the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and the $3.5 trillion tax and spending bill.
- Debate on the infrastructure bill begins today, with a final vote by Thursday. In the meantime, Pelosi must demonstrate enough progress on the reconciliation bill to persuade her left wing not to revolt on infrastructure – a high-wire act with an outcome that’s far from guaranteed.
- The House Judiciary Committee will mark up legislation to protect consumers online and several bills aiming to lower prescription drug costs.
- The full list of this week’s House committee activity can be found here.
- The Senate will vote this evening on legislation to fund the government and suspend the debt limit – a vote which is expected to fail.
- With only three days until government funding expires at the end of the fiscal year, no one knows yet exactly how Congress will address the funding and debt limit issues.
- The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold hearings on the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan beginning tomorrow with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other senior military commanders; Austin, Gen. Mark Milley and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. will also testify Wednesday on Afghanistan before the House Armed Services Committee.
- The current list of Senate committee activity can be found here.
- Biden’s agenda is on the line this week, and he’s expected to escalate his personal lobbying with wobbly Democratic lawmakers.
- Biden on Wednesday will visit Chicago to promote vaccine mandates in workplaces.
The rest of the president’s schedule is largely open, undoubtedly to allow for his personal involvement in the drama on Capitol Hill.