Roundtable Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill; House Democrats Aim to Vote on Social and Climate Package Next Week
The Real Estate Roundtable on Nov. 8 congratulated congressional policymakers and the Biden administration for their bipartisan efforts in passing the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill late last week. President Joe Biden plans to sign the legislation on Monday, Nov. 15 as Congress returns from recess to consider a separate $1.85 trillion social and climate package. (JD Supra and White House Statement, Nov. 10)
Real Estate Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, Suffolk) said, “The real estate industry has long been committed to an ambitious vision for infrastructure. The passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill by Congress is an historic opportunity to position our nation for sustainable growth and greater economic prosperity. Thank you to Members of Congress for coming together and supporting this critical legislation. I urge President Biden to sign the legislation as soon as possible so we can get shovels in the ground and start building a brighter future.” (Roundtable Statement, Nov. 8)
The infrastructure legislation is a positive catalyst that should dramatically improve the nation’s infrastructure, spur economic growth and advance national efforts to combat the climate crisis. The bill includes measures to expand the use of public-private partnerships to reach infrastructure goals, streamline the federal permitting process and improve key federal energy data that support EPA building labels.
The bipartisan bill also includes $30 billion for improvements along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, including the long-delayed “Gateway” tunnel project between New York and New Jersey, according to a Nov. 10 Bloomberginterview with Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. (Bloomberg article)
Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer said, “This infrastructure bill will repair and upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges, mass transit, high-speed rail, broadband, power grid, water pipes, electric vehicle charging stations, and other critical infrastructure. We applaud this investment in our nation’s future and look forward to the jobs, communities and progress it will support.” (MultiHousing News, Nov. 10)
Build Back Better Act & CRE
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) this week said during the U.N. climate change conference that next on her agenda is passage of the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376). “That is our plan, to pass the [Build Back Better] bill the week of Nov. 15, as is indicated in our statements that were made at the time of passing the infrastructure bill.” (Pelosi Remarks)
President Biden in late Oct. scaled back his sprawling social and climate package from $3.5 trillion to $1.85 trillion to resolve intraparty differences in the Democratic congressional caucus. Further changes made last week to the tax and spending measure would increase the cap on the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) from $10,000 to $80,000. Another set of changes would expand and modify the low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) to promote greater construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing. (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 5 andHouse Rules Committee section-by-section summary of the bill.)
The revised legislation reflects continued progress on a number of tax and climate issues of importance to The Real Estate Roundtable. (Summaries in Roundtable Weekly, Oct. 29)
The revised bill will be considered under budget reconciliation rules, which require a majority vote for approval in the narrowly divided House and the 50-50 Senate.
Five moderate House Democrats have raised concerns regarding the deficit impact of the Build Back Better Act (BBB), threatening its passage even before it goes to the Senate. They have also urged that the bill be “pre-conferenced” with the Senate. (Letter to Speaker Pelosi Nov. 2; Politico, Nov. 8)
The House moderates committed to vote for the BBB no later than the week of Nov. 15 – if Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimates are in line with the Administration’s estimates (CNBC, Nov. 5)
CBO stated on Nov. 9 that it plans to unveil estimates for parts of the BBB as the agency completes its reviews. A CBO score is not a technical requirement for a House vote – but Senate rules do require the agency’s cost estimate. (CBO statement and Politico, Nov. 11)
If the BBB package passes the House, substantive changes are possible in the Senate. (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 9)
Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer commented on the evolving infrastructure legislative developments in an interview with American City Business Journals. “We're continuing to monitor developments and ensure that nothing comes up without proper vetting or full understanding of how it would impact CRE,” DeBoer said.
Policymakers return to Washington on Monday for one week before the Thanksgiving break. On Dec. 3, funding for the government will run out unless an appropriations bill or “Continuing Resolution” is passed to avoid a partial shutdown. Additionally, the Bipartisan Policy Center estimates the current debt ceiling will be breached sometime between mid-December and mid-February.