Detail

Congress Faces Daunting Fall Agenda of Infrastructure Bills, Budget Funding and Debt Limit Deadlines

  • September 10, 2021

red lines to Capitol

Several significant issues affecting commercial real estate converge this month as Congress faces deadlines on a $550 billion “physical” infrastructure bill, a separate $3.5 trillion “social” infrastructure package, government funding for FY2022, and the national debt ceiling.  

The full Senate will return on Sept. 13 and the House on Sept. 20. Deadlines to watch as policymakers face a daunting agenda: 

Sept. 15 — Reconciliation Bills Expected 

  • House committees this week began work on completing various portions of the massive social infrastructure package – including tax revenue raisers impacting CRE – by a Sept. 15 deadline set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The $3.5 trillion package will be considered under “reconciliation” budget rules that would only require Democratic votes to pass. (The Hill, Sept. 9 and Roundtable Weekly tax story below)
     
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has instructed his committees to finalize their parts of the upper chamber’s reconciliation bill by Sept. 15 – although this deadline is non-binding and expected to slip. (CNBC, Aug. 11)
     
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) wrote in a Sept. 2 Wall Street Journal op-ed that Congress should take a “strategic pause” on the reconciliation package. In a 50-50 Senate, the votes of moderate Democrats such as Manchin and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) are crucial for passage. 

Sept. 27 — House infrastructure Vote 

House of Reps vote
  • The Senate on Aug. 10 passed a bipartisan bill addressing physical infrastructure with $550 billion in new spending. (Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 13) 

  • Pelosi has set a Sept. 27 deadline for the House to vote on the Senate-passed bill. Pelosi’s move accommodated a group of 10 moderates in her caucus who insisted on de-coupling House votes on physical and human infrastructure legislation. (Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 20)
     
  • Pelosi can afford to lose only three Democratic votes in the narrowly divided House if all Republicans oppose a bill. (New York Times, Sept 5)
     
  • The Real Estate Roundtable held an all-member Infrastructure Town Hall on Aug. 12 to discuss the Senate infrastructure bill, what lay ahead in the House, and the potential impact on commercial real estate. (Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 13)   

October – Federal Government Funding and Debt Ceiling 

Treasury logo on flag background

 

  • Funding for the federal government expires Oct. 1 unless an FY22 appropriations bill is enacted. Congress is expected to pass a stopgap spending bill – known as a Continuing Resolution (CR) – that would fund agencies at current levels to avoid a partial government shutdown. 
  • The CR could also include a measure to suspend or raise the national debt ceiling, which would require at least 10 Senate Republican votes to pass under regular order. 

  • Democratic leaders plan to pursue a bipartisan vote to waive the debt limit. (Reuters and PoliticoPro, Sept. 8) However, 46 Senate Republicans pledged in an August 10 letter that they “will not vote to increase the debt ceiling, whether that increase comes through a stand-alone bill, a continuing resolution, or any other vehicle." (Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 10) 

  • Congress must address the national debt ceiling by October, according to a Sept. 8 letter from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to congressional leaders. 

The Roundtable will discuss how all these issues impact CRE and the national economy during its Fall Meeting on Oct. 5 in Washington, DC (Roundtable-level members only). 

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