President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with a group of Republican senators this week to discuss a bipartisan path forward on infrastructure legislation. The group, led by Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), has proposed a $568 billion physical infrastructure framework as a counteroffer to Biden’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan. This meeting comes after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) over the weekend indicated Republicans could support a physical infrastructure package costing up to $800 billion.
Biden this week also is expected to sit down with House and Senate leadership from both parties to discuss infrastructure priorities. Notably, this will be the president’s first meeting with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
The president’s upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2022 proposed budget, expected to be released by Memorial Day, could help further frame infrastructure legislation under development.
Senate Consideration of Key Biden Health Nominees
The Senate is on track to confirm Andrea Joan Palm as deputy secretary of health and human services (HHS) this week after a cloture vote Monday advanced her nomination.
Procedural votes on the nomination of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) could be scheduled as early as this week. However, many Republicans continue to withhold their support for Brooks-LaSure’s nomination after CMS’ action to withdraw Medicaid waivers from Texas and other states.
Health Care Hearings on Tap
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) on Tuesday is scheduled to hear from administration officials on the latest federal efforts to combat COVID-19.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a May 12 hearing on the FY 2022 HHS budget. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra will testify on behalf of the department.
Also on May 12, the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care will examine how to improve mental health and addiction services across the country.
The House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a May 13 hearing on building a crisis response system to address mental health emergencies.