Yesterday, all 220 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted for a $3.5 trillion budget resolution embedded in a House rule that also sets a Sept. 27 deadline for a House vote on the Senate’s bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. The measure provided passage of the budget resolution that moves the partisan budget reconciliation process forward and also included a commitment to ensure consideration of the Senate’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that quelled the concerns from a group of ten House Democrats that held talks with Democratic leadership this week after urging for a vote on the IIJA before considering passage of the budget resolution. Speaker Pelosi has continued to call for passing the completed budget reconciliation bill before or in tandem with the bipartisan infrastructure proposal.
ABC sent a letter to the House yesterday opposing the reconciliation package and expressing concerns about the impact of the partisan proposal’s tax hikes and labor requirements on the nation’s construction industry.
Of note, key votes for Senate Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have made clear their opposition to the $3.5 trillion price tag on the current budget proposal and their opposition will likely lead to further discussions among Democrats on a viable proposal that can pass through both chambers and support the president’s policies.
House committees will begin marking up their portions of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package bill next week and plan to assemble the full package by mid-September ahead of the promised infrastructure vote. Congress is faced with critical deadlines at the end of September including the expiration of the current surface transportation authorization and government funding for federal agencies.
The House yesterday also passed H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, House Democrat’s proposal to restore provisions on minority voting originally enacted as part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but that were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court several years ago. Unlike the ABC-opposed, so-called For The People Act (H.R. 1/S. 1), this legislation was narrowly focused on the judiciary and avoided larger election reform issues supported by Democrats.
Potential Labor Provisions in $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Bill:
There are also reports that there will be some labor provisions included in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, the two most discussed possibilities have been increased penalties for violations of the National Labor Relations Act and deductibility of union dues. Democrats might also look to include new requirements that would make it harder for workers to qualify as independent contractors and additional financial support for striking workers. The provisions would need to pass the scrutiny of the budget reconciliation Byrd Rule that prevents extraneous measures from passing through the reconciliation process, though Democrats believe the employer penalties and tax provision should be deemed germane to the federal budget. ABC will continue to provide critical information on the progress of the reconciliation package.
As a reminder, the Senate wrapped up their final votes before leaving town for August recess, passing their budget resolution in a 50-49 vote that will set the stage for a proposed $3.5 trillion partisan spending bill through the budget reconciliation process. The Senate concluded its “vote-a-rama” on amendments to the budget resolution, which included several GOP amendments on issues from taxes to immigration. ABC, as part of the Main Street Employers coalition, also issued a statement of support for an amendment from Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., that would prevent changes to the 199A tax deduction for small businesses, and also joined a coalition in support of an amendment by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., to preserve Section 1031 of the tax code affecting like-kind exchanges.
REMINDER – 2021 Congressional Recess Grassroots Toolkit
ABC National Government Affairs has posted this year’s Congressional Recess Grassroots Toolkit in the abc.org academy, and it is also available on National Connections. Members are encouraged to review and utilize this comprehensive resource with the latest legislative updates during the August recess period. Included in the toolkit are the 116th Congress Eagle Award recipients and their staff contact information.
Please contact Patrick McCarty ([email protected]) for any questions or feedback regarding the Grassroots Toolkit. Please contact Shreya Kanal ([email protected]) with any questions related to Eagle Awards.