October 22, 2021
Reconciliation Negotiations Are Ongoing
This week in Washington has been dominated by a perennial question: when will a deal be struck on the reconciliation bill? With the surface transportation authorization expiring on October 31, time is of the essence. The political back-and-forth has dominated the news, but your WSW will continue to cut through the noise on your behalf.
Here’s What You Might Have Missed
The Ongoing Reconciliation Conversations. Topline: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced today that he intends for the House to consider the partisan reconciliation bill and bipartisan infrastructure bill next week. President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer met today to discuss. Last night, at a CNN Townhall, President Biden made a few notable statements regarding reconciliation:
- He would not support a work requirement for the child tax credit
- A paid parental leave provision has been narrowed from 12 weeks to 4 weeks
- Dental, vision, and hearing coverage in Medicare will likely be dropped, and is instead advocating for an $800 voucher for dental coverage
- Corporate tax hikes likely will not be included
- The Clean Electricity Performance Program is still on the table
We will address the President’s townhall in greater detail below. But, as it relates to reconciliation, it looks like the final topline number will be between $1.7 and $2 trillion. Sen. Manchin has gone on record that he said a final topline number could be decided today, with additional details to be hammered out by next week – however, several senators seem to believe that they will need to work through the weekend.
As a reminder, House progressives have insisted that they will not allow a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill until a reconciliation bill is ready to be voted on.
President Biden Participates in CNN Townhall. Last night, President Biden participated in a townhall in Baltimore hosted by CNN. Other than the social spending bill changes that we highlighted above, President Biden underscored a few other policy prerogatives:
- Filibuster reform for voting reform and the debt limit
- Sending the National Guard to alleviate pressure on the nation’s truckers amid shortages impacting the supply chain
- Supporting the firing (or at suspension) of first responders and law enforcement officers who do not receive the COVID-19 vaccine
You can read the President’s full remarks here.
Changes to U.S. Vaccine Protocol. Yesterday, the FDA authorized booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The FDA also authorized boosters that differ from the vaccine originally given, and is preparing to approve vaccinations to be given to young children. You can read WSW’s full vaccine report here.
Senate Releases Remaining Nine Appropriations Bills; Continuing Resolution Lapses December 3. On Monday, the Senate Appropriations Committee released the remaining nine appropriations bills. You can find them all here. Observers have noted that the bills are fairly partisan, so it remains to be seen how the House and Senate will reconcile their differences so the government doesn’t shutdown. Ultimately, it is likely that yet another continuing resolution will be passed, bringing the deadline to right before Christmas.
What You Should Be Watching
Upcoming Gubernatorial Races Tighten Up. In both Virginia and New Jersey, the races for governor are tightening. In Virginia, polls are showing Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe neck-and-neck, with some polls putting Youngkin ahead. As population has boomed in Northern Virginia, many observers expected this race to be “Likely Democrat,” and they have had to adjust their priors accordingly. In New Jersey, Republican Jack Ciattarelli is now behind incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy by single digits. As the President’s approval ratings tumble, these races have the ability to serve as a bellwether for 2022.
Redistricting Outlook. As of October 20, four states have finalized their newly drawn districts: Oregon, Maine, Nebraska, and Indiana (this does not include single-member delegate states). FiveThirtyEight approximates that this has led to Democrats netting two seats so far. However, this will likely change as states like Florida and Texas redraw their maps. You can find FiveThirtyEight’s tracker here.