The U.S. House of Representatives returns to Capitol Hill on Monday night on a rare break from its August hiatus as the Democrats seek to enforce a number of President Joe Biden’s legislative priorities.
What you need to know
- The U.S. House of Representatives is returning to Capitol Hill on Monday evening on a rare break from its August break to address three key legislative priorities
- The House Rules Committee will seek to approve a budget for fiscal 2022 in hopes of clearing a path for the future adoption of Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion 10-year social and environmental package
- A group of nine moderate Democrats are threatening to sink the vote on the budget decision unless the House of Representatives first votes on a $ 1 trillion infrastructure proposal passed in the Senate earlier this month
- Legislators will also consider a bill to restore power to the Suffrage Bill named after the late MP John Lewis
The House of Representatives plans to vote on Monday evening to kick off a future debate on three specific issues: The $ 1 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, passed in the Senate earlier this month, a budget resolution that forms the basis for a spending measure $ 3.5 trillion to fund education and the environment; and other safety net programs; and a bill to restore power to the voting bill named after the late Rep. John Lewis.
Democratic leaders hope the vote will only be a two-day affair, as the swift passage of a budgetary decision could enable the full enactment of laws setting as early as the fall of $ 3.5 trillion on safety nets, the environment and other programs.
The way forward is unclear for the budget and the two bills, as opposition from both moderate Democrats and Republicans presented a number of hurdles for Democratic leaders.
This is what the Members of the House will see on Monday:
Budget dissolution for fiscal year 2021
The House Rules Committee will seek to approve a budget for fiscal 2022 in hopes of clearing a path for the future adoption of Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion 10-year social and environmental package.
But a group of nine moderate Democrats have threatened to oppose budget dissolution unless the House first approves a $ 1 trillion 10-year package of road, power, broadband and other infrastructure projects that has already passed the Senate.
With unanimous Republican opposition to the fiscal bill expected, nine moderate votes would be more than enough to sink it in the narrowly divided house.
The moderates want Congress to send the bipartisan infrastructure measure to Biden quickly so he can sign it before the political winds turn. That would nail a victory that they could announce in their re-election campaigns next year.
Led by New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer, the group is concerned that the longer it takes to vote on the $ 1 trillion package, the less likely it is for a commitment to traditional infrastructure to materialize.
“Some have suggested that we hold back with the vote for the infrastructure package,” wrote Gottheimer in a comment published on Monday for NJ.com. “But if we do that, there is a real risk that it will never become law. The House cannot afford to wait months or do anything that will jeopardize the passage of this infrastructure bill or the loss of bipartisan support behind it. “
But the leaders of the House of Representatives have made it clear that they do not intend to comply with the group’s demands.
Instead, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Said on a conference call among Democrats in the House of Representatives that he would like the Chamber to approve the budget decision on Tuesday, according to a participant in the call, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
And House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said in a weekend letter to House Democrats that it was crucial to get the budget decision passed this week and that any delay will set the timetable for implementing “the transformative vision that Democrats share “, Endangered.
“It is important that our caucus be united in our determination to make progress in children once a century,” she wrote.
Infrastructure package worth $ 1 trillion
The Senate approved a $ 1 trillion infrastructure plan for the coast-to-coast states in early August, a scaled-down version of Biden’s original $ 2.3 trillion proposal that focuses on traditional infrastructure needs.
A total of 19 Republicans joined the Democrats in getting the stripped-down package off the ground to show that they too could deliver and the government could work – and in anticipation of a lengthy battle over the $ 3.5 trillion proposal
In its final form, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Bill grew into a 2,700-page bill that was endorsed by the President and by business, labor and agricultural interests.
The move includes nearly $ 550 billion in new spending over five years on top of current federal public works permits that will reach virtually every corner of the country – a potentially historic expense that Biden has with the construction of the transcontinental railroad and the Interstate Highway equated system.
There is money to rebuild roads and bridges, but also to protect coastlines against climate change, protect public supply systems from cyber attacks and modernize the power grid. Local public transport is being strengthened, as are airports and freight transport. Most leaded drinking water pipes in America could be replaced.
The bill would also allocate $ 65 billion for broadband, a provision negotiated by Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, for saying the coronavirus pandemic had shown that such a service “is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. ”The states get money to expand broadband and make it more affordable.
Unlike the $ 3.5 trillion second package, which would be paid for through higher corporate and wealthy tax rates, the bipartisan move is said to be funded through reallocation of other funds, including some COVID-19 aid.
Pelosi has so far committed to considering a vote on the $ 1 trillion package only in conjunction with the budget decision.
John R. Lewis Act to Promote Voting Rights
House Democrats want to update the groundbreaking Voting Rights Act and are hoping for a quick pass of HR 4, also known as the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.
The bill is named after the famous civil rights activist who died last year.
The bill, introduced by Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell, aims to restore an important provision of federal law that required states with a history of discrimination to undergo a state review of changes in voting and elections. The Supreme Court put aside the formula used to determine which jurisdictions were subject to the requirement in a 2013 decision and further weakened the law in a ruling this summer.
The move comes at a time when a number of Republican-led states have passed laws tightening the rules for voting, particularly postal votes. Democrats have sounded the alarm at the new voting hurdles, comparing the minority impact to the disenfranchisement of the Jim Crow laws, but they have sought to unite behind a strategy to meet the near-unanimous Republican opposition in the Senate overcome.
A Democratic-sponsored charter, known as the For the People Act, stalled in the Senate amid Republican opposition and Democratic disagreement over whether to change the rules of procedure in the evenly-divided Senate to get it passed.
The Biden government has repeatedly spoken out in favor of the bill, writing in a statement released on Monday that “the right to free choice, the right to fair elections and the right to be counted are of fundamental importance”.
“In an essay published shortly after his death, Congressman John Lewis wrote: ‘Democracy is not a state. It is an act[.]“Added the White House. “This bill not only bears his name, it follows his call.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.