June 11, 2021 Legislative Update
FROM WASHINGTON, D.C.
The infrastructure bill bonanza continued this week. President Biden, having read the writing on the wall, officially declared an end to his talks with the group of GOP senators led by Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). With the President scheduled to spend the rest of the week in Europe, he gave his blessing to a bipartisan group of 10 Senators who have been at work in the shadows this whole time. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Rob Portman (R-OH), who are leading the negotiations released a statement saying their bill “would be fully paid for and not include tax increases." Details remain fuzzy, and negotiations seem to have been paused for the weekend. Although House moderates released their own eight-year $1.25 trillion infrastructure proposal earlier this week, the Senators’ efforts are widely viewed as Congress’s last chance to strike a bipartisan agreement. Otherwise, Democrats (under pressure from the progressive wing of their party) seem to be steeling themselves for a fight over the budget reconciliation process, which would allow them to pass a version of President Biden’s original $2.3 trillion proposal over Republican objections.
Meanwhile, work on surface transportation reauthorization continues in more orderly fashion. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee marked up the INVEST in America Act, a comprehensive five-year $547 billion bill for highway, transit, safety and freight and passenger rail. For the first time in a decade, members were allowed to submit earmark requests, which totaled $5.7 billion in special highway and transit projects. INVEST would provide all of the earmark money in one lump sum in FY2022. Next week, the Senate will mark up the rail and safety portions of their reauthorization bill.
No highlighted bills this week.
RECENT COMMITTEE HEARINGS
- On Wednesday, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee held a 19-hour bill mark-up for their surface transportation reauthorization proposal, the INVEST in America Act, HR 3684. The committee passed an amendment that would preserve previous Buy America law related to iron and steel requirements.
UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS
- On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at 9 am, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will meet to examine the President’s budget request for the Department of Energy for Fiscal Year 2022. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm will testify.
- On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at 9 am, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee will conduct a hearing on “21st Century Communities: Local Leaders on the Infrastructure Needs Facing America’s States, Cities, and Towns”. Mayor Daniel Horrigan of Akron, Ohio, will testify, with other witnesses TBA.
- On Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at 9 am, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will convene an executive session to consider several nominations and bills, including new draft legislation, S. 2016 Surface Transportation Investment Act, which constitutes the rail and safety titles of the new surface reauthorization bill.
- On Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at 1:30 pm, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development will review the President’s FY2022 budget request for the US Department of Transportation.
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