JULY 1, 2021
Appropriations Markups Continue
Plus, an infrastructure update
Though the Senate was in recess, the House was hard at work this week on a range of issues, including marking up key appropriations legislation and passing a significant infrastructure package. As the House hightails it out of town following the infrastructure vote, your WSW team wanted to provide you a quick update of what you may have missed and what should be on your radar.
Here’s What You Might Have Missed
Infrastructure Update. Today, the House passed H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act, a $715 billion package which funds surface transportation and water investments over the next five years. The bill passed mostly along party lines: 221-201, with two Republicans, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) and Rep. Chris Smith (NJ), joining all Democrats. This is despite the inclusion of earmarks, which were expected to generate more bipartisan goodwill. This is the first major piece of legislation to pass either the full House or the full Senate on infrastructure funding this Congress, beyond a water infrastructure bill passed by the Senate earlier this year.
There are several steps in the process to go before such funding could become law, including negotiations with the Senate on related legislation that has passed out of the Environment and Public Works Committee that is similar to the House bill and with the White House on the deal struck with Republicans last week. Further, the House passed the bill today without a way of paying for it, a key issues for passage of any bill.
This week, President Biden also walked back a statement that he expects a bipartisan infrastructure package and a “Democrats-only” bill filled with “human infrastructure” provisions passed through reconciliation to land on his desk simultaneously. This statement threatened to derail the bipartisan framework for an infrastructure deal he announced with a group of Senators last week. Nonetheless, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) signaled that he would likely support a Democrats-only bill. Key details still remain, including the final scope and scale of the bill. House progressives are also threatening the deal in the absence of more funding to combat climate change.
Appropriations Markups Occur. This week, the full Appropriations Committee passed the following bills: Legislative Branch, Financial Services & General Government, State & Foreign Operations, Military Construction, and Agriculture. The Defense and Homeland Security subcommittees also marked up their measures. The Hill provided a good overview of what is in the $706 billion Defense bill, which can be found here.
Police Reform Negotiations on the Edge of Collapse. On Wednesday, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) put out a statement appraising that “we seem to be poised to undo more than a year’s worth of work toward common sense criminal justice reform.” The statement comes following reports that a familiar issue – qualified immunity – remains an almost insurmountable sticking point.
Here’s What You Should Be Watching
Upcoming Appropriations Markups. Following the 4th of July recess, the following markups will occur:
- July 12: Commerce, Justice, & Science; Energy & Water; Labor & Health and Human Services; Transportation & Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee Markups
- July 13: Defense; Homeland Security Full Committee Markups
- July 15: Commerce, Justice, & Science; Labor & Health and Human Services Full Committee Markups
- July 16: Energy & Water; Transportation & Housing and Urban Development Full Committee Markups
Enhanced Funding for Preventing Future Pandemics. Today, Politico reported that the Biden Administration is considering government incentives to help quickly develop tests and to stockpile key supplies ahead of the next pandemic. What remains to be seen is how aggressively both Congress and the White House work to continue to support the onshoring of important medical supplies, and what ways the Administration seeks implement those incentives.