The House and Senate are out of session this week.
The American plans: Last week, President Biden’s $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan (public works infrastructure & corporate tax increases) and $1.8 trillion American Families Plan (social infrastructure & upper income tax increases) continued to receive scrutiny, praise and criticism. Republicans remain committed to a road, rail, water and bridge infrastructure plan of around $600 billion and want to do it without any tax increases. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), said she hoped that both sides could come to an agreement, based on the plan that Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) presented to President Biden (covered here last week). Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) appeared to agree with his colleague from West Virginia and suggested that the plan be used as a basis for negotiation. Currently, there are discussions amongst Democratic legislators to split the physical infrastructure plan off and pass it on its own, without several of the Democratic priorities that Republicans find unpalatable (tax increases, epic cost, etc.).
Negotiations: While the Senate is out of session this week, there is a strong effort amongst some centrists for an attempt at bipartisanship. Moderate Democrats are concerned that attempts to move Democratic-only bills will fail and there is only so much that can be done within budget reconciliation (where only a simple majority is needed to pass, but the legislation cannot directly change policy). Watch for Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Angus King (I-ME) and others to attempt finding common ground on forthcoming legislation.
Water: Last week, the Senate passed S.914, the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021. This is a largely bipartisan measure that would see $35 billion invested in water infrastructure projects across the country, while reauthorizing the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. These State Revolving Funds (SRFs) are a mechanism to provide financing to state drinking and other water infrastructure projects. It has been sent to the House.
Leadership: As of this writing, a battle has erupted over the #3 spot in the House Republican caucus, now held by Conference Chair Liz Cheney (WY). Some GOP House members have been unhappy with her vote (with ten other Republicans) in favor of former President Trump’s second impeachment. In addition, she has pushed back on arguments that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Reportedly, House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (LA) along with Cheney’s opponents in the caucus are actively supporting Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY).
ASA federal action
Save Local Business Act: ASA joined other national organizations in a letter supporting the Save Local Business Act. The letter is in support of the Save Local Business Act, which is being reintroduced to serve as a contrast to some provisions of the PRO Act, as well as an Obama Administration rule on what constitutes as a joint employer for purposes of labor organization. This legislation would also limit liability for businesses who franchise, supply or subcontract.
Infrastructure C=codes & standards: ASA, along with other members of the High Performance Building Coalition (HPBC), is urging Congress to use current building codes for projects in the upcoming infrastructure package.
More retirements: On Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Charlie Christ, announced that he would challenge Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) in 2022. Christ, served as Governor of Florida, from 2007-2011, as a Republican. Last week, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) announced that he would not seek re-election, as he plans on challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2022. On Monday, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), who served as the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in 2020, announced that she would not seek re-election in 2022, after five terms in Congress. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) announced he would be seeking the Democratic nomination for Senate, to replace retiring Senator Rob Portman (R-OH). This brings the total number of retirements in the House to eleven (5 Democrats and 6 Republicans). Currently, there are five Senators not seeking re-election, all Republicans.
Target map: This week the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) announced that it would target an additional ten Democratic districts in 2022, bringing the total number to 57. The NRCC is increasingly optimistic that not only will Republicans regain control of the House, but that they can increase their potential majority while doing so. Some of the new districts added to the list: Reps. Marie Newman (IL-3), Ami Bera (CA-7), Jim Costa (CA-16), Raul Ruiz (CA-36) and Dan Kildee (MI-5).
The next elections for vacant House seats are – Previously Democratic-held: New Mexico’s 1st (6/1) and Ohio’s 11th & 15th (11/2), Florida’s 20th (1/11/22). Previously Republican-held: Texas’ 6th District (Special Election Runoff - 6/1). The House now has composition of 218 Democrats to 212 Republicans.
Small Business Administration (SBA):
The SBA is taking Paycheck Protection Program loan applications until May 31, 2021. More can be found here.
State Legislation Tracking:
Please visit our new, web-based state legislative tracker here.