Congressional Update: Federal Budget Resolution Passes Clearing Way For Infrastructure Bill
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives returned from recess to pass the Senate’s budget resolution, which formally unlocks the reconciliation process that will allow Congressional Democrats to pass a domestic spending package without Republican votes.
The vote on the resolution was held up due to disagreements with several moderate House Democrats who had threatened to block moving forward on reconciliation unless Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) allowed a vote on the Senate-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
Under a compromise reached between Speaker Pelosi and the moderates, the House will begin considering the IIJA by September 27. This deadline could prove similarly problematic, however, as the House Progressive Caucus reiterated it would withhold votes for IIJA until a reconciliation package is passed.
In addition, on August 23, moderate Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) stated she would not support a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) similarly stated that although he voted to advance the initial budget resolution, he remains concerned about the consequences of a $3.5 trillion spending bill.
To pass a reconciliation bill in an evenly divided Senate, the Democrats will need at least fifty-one votes, including the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
Media reports identify the various tax reforms Democrats could pursue to pay-for a reconciliation package. However, Senators Sinema and Manchin’s opposition to the overall price tag will also influence tax measures that could be included.
Additional information will be available when House and Senate Committees release their legislative proposals, but passage of a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package faces multiple hurdles.