The House of Representatives passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution Tuesday, after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised moderate Democrats a September vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill to garner their support for a framework that sets-up the “reconciliation” process. (Washington Post, Aug. 25)
- “I am committing to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill by September 27,” Pelosi said. “We must keep the 51-vote privilege by passing the budget and work with House and Senate Democrats to reach agreement in order for the House to vote on a Build Back Better Act that will pass the Senate." (Speaker Pelosi Statement, Aug. 24; Politico, Aug. 24)
A group of 10 Democratic moderates led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) agreed to allow the House to consider the $3.5 trillion budget resolution – encompassing “human” infrastructure initiatives – contingent on a vote for the “physical” infrastructure bill. For the past several weeks, the moderates insisted they would not move on to the budget package unless the Senate-passed bill also received a House vote. (Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 20)
The Roundtable’s summaries of issues affecting CRE that are in play as part of the “physical” and “human” infrastructure packages are available:
- The human infrastructure proposal that may be advanced in the House under budget reconciliation rules would be partially financed by raising taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals – and potentially include a variety of tax increases affecting commercial real estate (see Tax Policy story below)
- The Real Estate Roundtable held an all-member Infrastructure Town Hall on Aug. 12 to discuss the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, what lay ahead in the House, and the potential impact on commercial real estate.
- Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, joined Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, Suffolk), and Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, for the Town Hall discussion. (Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 13)
- DeBoer, stated, “This [reconciliation] package may be financed with a variety of tax increases affecting step-up in basis, like-kind exchanges, carried interest and capital gains that would act as a cumulative drag on investment at the exact time when sectors of the economy need incentives to recover from the pandemic. The Roundtable urges Senate and House policymakers to be very cautious as they proceed on the reconciliation bill – so that one-step forward with the physical infrastructure bill is not met with two-steps backward from tax increases.” (Roundtable statement, Aug. 11)
- Congressional committees are in the process of drafting different sections of the reconciliation package. They have a non-binding deadline of submitting their text by Sept. 15. (Axios, Aug. 24)
- Reconciliation would likely move in the House first. The House Budget Committee will compile each committee’s individual text into a single package for a floor vote that, if approved, would then be sent to the Senate.
Getting both packages to President Biden’s desk for his signature will be a major challenge. Congressional leadership must consider demands of centrists who balk at the $3.5 trillion price tag for “social” infrastructure, and progressives who believe the $550 billion in new spending for “physical” infrastructure is not big enough to address issues such as climate change. (CNBC, Aug. 25)
When Congress returns after Labor Day, policymakers will face other critical deadlines
in addition to their anticipated actions on the infrastructure and reconciliation packages. Legislation is needed after the Treasury Department exhausts its “extraordinary measures” in mid-September to avoid defaulting on the national debt. Congress is also expected to consider a “continuing resolution” to put stop-gap spending measures in place before federal government funds run dry on Sept. 30. (Politico
, Aug. 25)