- The House is expected to vote on the final version of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan this week and will send it to President Biden for his signature.
- After the bill’s journey through the Senate, the $15 an hour minimum wage provision was removed, while the threshold for $1,400 direct payments will be limited to those with an AGI of $80,000 or less (double for joint filers) remained, pandemic related unemployment aid will increase to $400 per week through September 6th, $360 billion in direct aid to state, local and tribal governments and expansion of the employee retention credit will be extended to December 31, 2021.
- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that $1.1 trillion from the ARP will be spent in 2021, with $459 billion being disbursed in 2022.
- The spending, along with other provisions of the legislation, has led to several positive financial estimates for economic growth. For example, Morgan Stanley increased their 2021 economic growth forecast from 6.5% to 7.3% - a pace not seen since the post-World War II era.
- With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, attention will turn to several Democratic initiatives, including a new infrastructure bill.
- The Build Back Better infrastructure plan would focus on infrastructure and economic recovery. It is expected to cost as much as $2 trillion, with an emphasis on infrastructure projects to energize job growth, as well as climate change related initiatives.
- As legislation passes quickly out of the House and Senate, often without the support of the minority, Republicans in both houses are beginning to use legislative procedure to slow things down.
- Republicans in the House are planning on impeding down non-controversial bills through procedural motions and requiring that every member cast their vote on the floor. They say this is necessary to express their frustration with new House rules in the new Congress.
- In the Senate, focus continues on retaining the filibuster with the procedural action not going anywhere soon (Note: For a dramatic example of the filibuster, be sure to watch Frank Capra’s ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’- the film that made Jimmy Stewart a star.)
- On Tuesday, with the help of five Republicans, the House passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, 225-206. The bill would largely eliminate ‘Right to Work’ laws, while protecting workers that seek to organize. While passing the House with some ease, this legislation will face a more difficult path in the Senate.
- Also, on Tuesday, Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) placed ‘holds’ on the nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) to be Secretary of the Interior. Their opposition to Rep. Haaland’s confirmation stems from her opposition to ‘pipelines & fossil fuels,’ per Sen. Daines.
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