Capitol Correspondence - 12.13.21

Congress Continues Work on 2021 Priorities Before End of Year

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The Senate is continuing its work to advance the Build Back Better Act. On Saturday, the Senate Finance Committee—the committee with jurisdiction over the bill’s Medicaid provisions—released its 1,180-page update to the House-passed Build Back Better Act’s language. The update makes only minor changes to the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) provision, maintaining its nearly $150 billion investment in the HCBS program. It also does not make any significant changes to the other key provisions affecting HCBS providers.

Senators will hold meetings with the Senate Parliamentarian this week, as she makes determinations about which provisions in the bill comport with the Senate’s Byrd Rule, which governs the budget reconciliation process. Senate Democrats hope they can work through these Parliamentarian meetings and be on track to bring the Build Back Better Act to the floor by December 22. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has repeatedly stated his goal of passing the Build Back Better Act “by Christmas.”

The Build Back Better Act is part of a long list of legislative priorities Congress must accomplish before the end of 2021. Last week, Congress focused on passing a legislative vehicle that will allow a simple majority vote to raise the debt ceiling. This week Congress will vote on the legislation to raise the debt ceiling, which it can now pass without having to secure bipartisan support. Also this week, the Senate must complete its discussion of the National Defense Authorization Act and vote to pass the legislation.

It is not clear whether Congress can complete all of its legislative priorities, including passing the Build Back Better Act, but ANCOR will continue to monitor the legislation and provide updates.