Capitol Correspondence - 09.28.21

Congress Continues to Negotiate Over Budget Reconciliation Package Alongside Appropriations, Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation

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After congressional committees in the U.S. House of Representatives completed their markups of the budget reconciliation legislation—including the Energy and Commerce Committee’s passage of a bill to provide $190 billion for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)—the House briefly paused its consideration of the Build Back Better Act last week to advance appropriations legislation.

With a September 30 deadline looming to avoid a government shutdown, the House last week passed a continuing resolution (CR) to continue funding the government through December 3. The CR must now be passed by the Senate, but the bill was blocked earlier this week due to its inclusion of language to lift the debt ceiling. With the Senate’s failure to pass the CR, it now must find a path forward to avoid a government shutdown. Both the House and Senate must now negotiate on a CR that is stripped of the debt ceiling language and it must be passed by both houses and signed by President Biden by midnight on September 30th to avoid a government shutdown.

Meanwhile, congressional leadership in the House and Senate continues to negotiate over what will be included in the budget reconciliation bill. House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer reported that they had created a framework that would lay out a menu of options for how to pay for the spending bill—a move that would purportedly ensure enough Democratic votes to pass the budget reconciliation package. However, the timing on a floor vote for the legislation is still uncertain. Speaker Pelosi had originally committed to voting on the reconciliation bill in tandem with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which is scheduled for a vote on Thursday. But, on Monday night, Speaker Pelosi announced that the vote on the budget reconciliation bill would not take place this week.

At the time this article was published, it was unclear when the vote on the budget reconciliation bill will take place, whether there will be enough votes to pass the bill, and whether we can expect to see an increase in funding for HCBS above the House’s $190 billion proposal.

Regardless of how things continue to play out, it is clear is that now is the time to tell your members of Congress to fund HCBS. Please take action using our action alert tool and continue sharing with your networks.