Roundtable Weekly
Congress Reviews Biden’s Multitrillion Infrastructure Proposals
May 8, 2021

President Biden Speaks at Amtrak Anniversary

Capitol Hill continued to assess President Biden’s “physical” and “social” infrastructure plans this week as Democrats considered how to advance the Administration’s proposals in a narrowly divided Congress. (BGov, May 4)  Photo: President Biden on April 30th discussed his infrastructure proposals during Amtrak's 50th anniversary.

Infrastructure Negotiations 

  • Biden’s infrastructure proposals include last week’s $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, composed mainly of social spending and tax hikes on wealthy individuals – and his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan unveiled in March. (Roundtable Weekly, April 30 and Wall Street Journal, April 29).  

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday said Republicans are open to funding projects that fit into a much narrower definition of infrastructure, for a much smaller cost, and funded by unspecified fees rather than tax increases. (AP, May 3)

  • “We’re open to doing a roughly $600 billion package, which deals with what all of us agree is infrastructure and to talk about how to pay for that in any way other than reopening the 2017 tax reform bill,” McConnell said.

  • White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on May 5 said Biden plans to meet with key policymakers on his proposals next week, including Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee. “The president believes Congress can and should move forward with multiple policies at the same time. And, certainly, that is what is happening on Capitol Hill.” Psaki said. (White House press briefing, May 5 and Transport Topics, May 6)

  • CNBC reported on May 6 how residential and commercial real estate could be affected by Biden's tax proposals, which would raise capital gains taxes, tax unrealized gains at death with an exception for family-owned businesses, and restrict the use of Section 1031 like-kind exchanges.

  • The Wall Street Journal on May 6 also reported how Biden’s proposal to restrict 1031 exchanges would add another burden on farmers, who have used the provision to relocate operations, diversify crops, and consolidate land holdings. 

Congressional Legislation

Capitol Building with sun

  • This week, Congress considered legislation that would impact issues of interest to commercial real estate, including:

  • The House Energy Committee addressed the CLEAN Future Act (H.R.1512) during a hearing focused on decarbonizing the transportation sector.  H.R. 1512 is a sprawling bill aimed at achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 that contains provisions affecting building construction, operations, and ESG reporting. (Politico, March 3 and CQ NewsReuters, March 2)

  • A May 4 House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing addressed the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). A discussion draft released before the hearing would reauthorize the NFIP for five years, enact reforms to place the program on sound financial footing, institute a cap on premium increases of 9% per year, and forgive over $20 billion in NFIP debt. (Committee background memorandum)

  • In the Senate, legislation is expected to be reintroduced in the next few weeks that would encourage the construction of more energy-efficient new homes and commercial buildings through voluntary “model” building codes. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) issued a May 3 news release on their plans to reintroduce their energy efficiency legislation. 

House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) on May 6 said she plans to mark up fiscal 2022 spending bills in June, before expected floor votes in July.  Lawmakers would have to finish their spending bills by Sept. 30, when the government’s fiscal year ends, or pass a stopgap measure to avert a shutdown of government agencies. (BGov, May 6)

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