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Legislative Updates

Budget resolution passes in Senate

In a party-line vote of 50-49, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget resolution. The ten-year $3.5 trillion framework drafted by Senate Democrats includes funding for improved family services, healthcare, education, combatting climate change, and more. The budget resolution sets top-level spending guidelines and provides instructions for Senate committees. The instructions reinforce President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda, a three-part plan to rebuild the American economy. The successful passage of the budget resolution yesterday paves the way for Democrats to use the so-called “budget reconciliation” process to protect the legislation from a GOP filibuster in the Senate.

In the budget resolution, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee would receive $37 billion in new funding. This funding would be used to fully electrify the federal vehicle fleet, including the Postal Service’s fleet. It would also be deployed for federal building rehabilitation projects, cybersecurity infrastructure, border management investments, and other federal investments related to clean energy procurement.

Overall, the budget resolution aims to combat climate change with $198 billion dollars allocated to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for rebates on clean energy and weatherized homes, federal procurement of energy-efficient materials, and climate research. It includes $726 billion for the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions that would provide: universal pre-K schooling for 3- and 4-year old children; tuition-free community college; and an increase in the maximum amount of Pell grants for higher education. The Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs would receive $332 billion to create and preserve affordable housing, and the Committee on Finance would receive funding to promote paid family and medical leave, Medicare expansion, increased child tax credits, and more. Additionally, $18 billion would be allocated to the Committee on Veterans Affairs for upgrades to VA facilities.

The budget resolution ultimately passed after a long night in the Senate. Hundreds of amendments were filed and nearly four dozen were eventually voted on.

“For too many decades, Congress has ignored the needs of the working class, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. Now is the time for bold action. Now is the time to restore faith in ordinary Americans that their government can work for them, and not just wealthy campaign contributors,” said Senate Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (D-VT) after introducing the budget resolution. The passage of the budget resolution, which outlines spending over the next 10 years, came after the Senate also passed a ten-year, $1 trillion bipartisan physical infrastructure bill yesterday, both critical parts of the White House’s agenda.

The House of Representatives has not yet voted on the budget resolution, and Democrats will have to continue to navigate within their own party to get the legislation through Congress. Currently, the House expects to shorten their recess by two weeks and return the week of August 23 to begin work on the budget resolution and reconciliation. After the House passes the budget resolution, committees in both houses of Congress can then begin drafting their portions of the bill. These committees would need to hold markups during the first two weeks of September to meet the non-binding September 15 budget resolution deadline.

If the Senate and the House are able to work out any differences between their infrastructure and reconciliation bills, the whole Congress will potentially consider these major pieces of legislation in late

September or early October. One major complicating factor is the September 30 deadline to raise the national debt limit and to fund government agencies for fiscal year 2022, which begins October 1st. NALC will continue to monitor these bills as they move through Congress.

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