Congressional Update: Keeping Govt. Running, China Trade, Build Back Better
Congress is expected to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) extending government funding through March 11.
Meanwhile, it appears both sides have reached a baseline agreement to finalize a full government funding package so that many of the programs authorized in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law can be fully funded.
As of now, government funding expires on February 18.
In addition, Congress is also focused on merging differences between House and Senate-passed bills to compete with China by supporting US research and development.
Build Back Better
Given these priorities, along with an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, the Build Back Better Act (BBB) remains stalled.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) reiterated his concerns over additional government spending after this week’s inflation data was released.
However, he outlined markers for a package he could support, which would include higher individual, corporate, and capital gains tax rates and would focus on energy innovation – not elimination.
Still, these markers do not indicate that any agreement is close as moderate Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) opposes tax rate increases.
Senator Ben Ray Lujan continues to recover from a recent stroke, eliminating Senate Democrats 50 vote majority for the time being, and further complicating the legislative timeline for the next few weeks.
Despite the impasse in Congress, the White House continues engaging stakeholders to boost support for different provisions of BBB.
Last week, President Biden met with heads of the nation’s largest electric utilities, including American Electric Power, Edison International, Duke Energy, Southern Company, Exelon, Ameren, and DTE to discuss BBB’s climate and clean energy provisions.
This follows President Biden’s meeting with leaders of Microsoft, General Motors, and Ford last month regarding BBB’s healthcare provisions.