By Mark Valentini, Director of Legislative Affairs
The House is expected to vote on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF) today, September 30, 2021. Liberal House Democrats have threatened to vote against BIF if there is no agreement with the Senate on passage of a separate spending bill, the Build Back Better plan, a $3.5 trillion piece of legislation embodying the Biden administration’s social priorities. House Republican leadership is also mobilizing to vote against BIF, and with a narrow Democrat majority it is very possible the infrastructure legislation could be voted down.
Senate moderate Democrats Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Joe Manchin (WV) are steadfastly opposed to the $3.5 trillion price tag of Build Back Better. In meetings last week at the White House, President Biden pressed the moderate Senators on a topline number they could support, with no agreement other than that the price tag needs to be lowered. The failure of the BIF and Build Back Better plan would scuttle the Biden administration’s agenda less than a year into the President’s first term with an election season coming up that looks increasingly promising for House Republicans.
It is important to note the infrastructure bill (BIF) and the spending bill (Build Back Better) are separate pieces of legislation. The House could have voted on BIF more than a month ago and sent it to the White House to become law. Instead, BIF was used as leverage to force a vote on a separate, massive spending bill with a number of tax provisions that will burden p-h-c contractors. If you haven’t already, click here to tell Congress to voice your opposition to proposed new taxes and tax increases or follow this link: https://igniteadvocacy.com/go/tell-congress-no-tax-hikes-on-p-h-c-contractors-/250
In addition, government funding expires at the end of today, September 30, and without a continuing resolution the government may shut down at least temporarily until Congress reaches a short-term agreement. The Senate voted earlier this week on a continuing resolution to keep government funded while increasing the debt ceiling, but it was voted down by Republicans because they are opposed to the debt ceiling provisions. The Senate will now attempt to pass another continuing resolution focused exclusively on keeping government funded while working on a separate vehicle to increase the debt ceiling through the process of reconciliation.
The economic and political implications of the inability of Washington leaders to avert crises on several fronts cannot be overstated. PHCC will continue to keep you apprised of developments and the impact on our industry. Stay tuned.
Director of Legislative Affairs , PHCC-National Association