Congress Speeds Up Before Grinding to a Halt in August
Things appear to be moving at lightning speed in DC as elected officials in the House and Senate try to move the process along for a massive funding package and a bipartisan infrastructure bill before heading out of town in August. But looks can be deceiving as many of the votes are procedural and the real work and negotiations will take place amongst staff throughout August and when officials return in the fall. n4a breaks down where we are, what we can expect over the coming weeks and what you can do.
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, a bipartisan infrastructure agreement was struck in the Senate and endorsed by President Biden on Wednesday, July 28. Senators voted 67-32 on a procedural vote to advance the bill but lawmakers will still have to pass the bill—an historic investment of $550 billion in core infrastructure priorities including roads, bridges, rails, transit, ports, airports, water systems and broadband—in a full floor vote (expected next week) in the Senate.
Rumor has it the House will not take up the bill without a companion Senate budget resolution that would begin the reconciliation process that the Democrats hope to use to advance a $3.5 trillion package of priorities. trillion. At this time, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) believes he has 50 votes to move the budget resolution next week as well. It looks like things are moving full speed ahead so that the Senate can meet its August 9 recess departure. It's amazing what Congress can accomplish when Members' summer vacation plans are on the line!
With an expected adjournment of July 30, the House moved quickly to prioritize funding for FY 2022 this week. The House passed a minibus bill that included seven of the 12 spending bills. (For details on aging programs in the House-passed bill, see our July 16 Legislative Update and appropriations chart.) The seven-bill package will now head to the Senate where appropriators in that chamber have yet to schedule committee mark-ups and may not do so until after they return.
ADVOCATING in August
There are plenty of chances to weigh in during what is a relatively short window on long-awaited investments in programs serving older Americans, caregivers and people with disabilities. Visit n4a's Advocacy Alerts page for up-to-date actions you can take to support the work you do by cementing Senate support for FY 2022 appropriations requests and fully funding the Better Care Better Jobs Act. Take advantage of district work periods as elected officials return home, as these are great opportunities to connect so don't let the opportunity to impact your community slip by!