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Senate Passes Short-Term Debt Limit Increase as Democrats Aim to Reduce Cost of Human Infrastructure Package

  • October 8, 2021

Capitol building bright

The Senate last night passed legislation (S.1301) on a 50-48 vote that would increase the debt limit by $480 billion and avoid an Oct. 18 national default. (Axios and Wall Street Journal, Oct. 7)

New Fiscal Cliff 

  • The bill would also effectively set Dec. 3 as the new fiscal cliff – when the new debt limit and the current short-term government-spending authorization both expire. (Roundtable Weekly, Oct. 1 and CQ, Oct. 7)

  • The agreement struck by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) this week raises the current national debt to approximately $28.8 trillion to cover spending previously authorized by the federal government. (NPR and CNBC, Oct. 7) 

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wrote to members of her caucus last night that she would call the House back from recess early to vote if necessary. President Biden said this week said he also would support an increase in the debt ceiling. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 7 and White House remarks, Oct. 6)

Infrastructure Reset 

DC landscape sunset

  • Meanwhile, disagreements among moderate and progressive Democrats on the scope and cost of a $3.5 trillion “human” infrastructure package delayed a vote last week in the House, prompting Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to reset the deadline for lawmakers to reach agreement to Oct. 31. (Forbes, Oct 2) 

  • Congressional leaders and President Biden continued negotiations this week with centrist Senate Democrats Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) aimed at reaching a deal that would allow a human infrastructure bill to pass the Senate with 50 votes. Manchin this week added that he is open to a reduction in the reconciliation bill’s cost to between $1.9 trillion and $2.2 trillion. (CNN, Oct 5)
  • Democrats are now engaged in an intense debate about how to cut the total cost of their human infrastructure bill. Legislation that would raise an estimated $2.1 trillion in taxes from corporations and the wealthy was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee on Sept. 15 to help finance the original $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 17) 

  • Real Estate Roundtable President Jeffrey DeBoer commented Sept. 17 on the bill’s advancement. “We encourage Congress to review the suggested tax hikes, particularly those on pass-through businesses, and work to ensure that unnecessary and unintended damage is not done to the economy. Substantial commercial real estate activities are conducted by pass-through entities and these activities create jobs, support retirement savings, and boost tax revenue for critical public services provided by local governments.”  DeBoer added, “The Roundtable is encouraged, yet cautious, at this still relatively early stage of the legislative process.” (Roundtable WeeklySept. 17 | Sept. 24 | Oct. 1)

  • Roundtable members and others are encouraged to reach out to their Representatives and contact their Senators to urge them to preserve the 20% deduction for pass-through business income (section 199A), which is directly tied to hiring workers and investing in capital equipment and property. Modest adjustments in the legislation would ensure that pass-through businesses could continue contributing to economic growth, innovation, and job creation. Background information and talking points on the pass-through issue can be found here. 

  • Tax issues affecting CRE are summarized in The Roundtable’s summary on Real Estate Tax Issues and Budget Reconciliation Legislation

  • DeBoer will participate in an Oct. 21 Marcus & Millichap webinar on the latest tax policy developments in Washington and what they mean for CRE. (Register here

Legislation on human and physical infrastructure, the debt ceiling, government funding and many other policy issues affecting CRE were the focus of discussions between Roundtable members and national policymakers during The Roundtable’s Oct. 5 Fall Business Meeting. (See story above).  

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