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On the Hill: Senate Passes Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

The Senate stayed in session over the weekend to finish work on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, which passed Tuesday by a 69–30 vote.

Lawmakers took the final procedural vote on Sunday night, formally ending debate on the package. The bill contains $550 billion in new physical infrastructure spending. It now goes to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expects to hold it until the fall.

Democrats Release Budget Resolution, Setting Up Reconciliation Bill

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats yesterday released text for their $3.5 trillion budget resolution, the precursor to a partisan reconciliation bill that will address President Joe Biden’s “human infrastructure” priorities, including health care policies. The budget resolution sets forth the top-line spending numbers for committees to use when developing policies under the budget reconciliation process.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday brought the budget resolution to the Senate floor, triggering 50 hours of debate. However, the Senate yielded back all time for debate, proceeding directly to sequential votes on amendments, known as a “vote-a-rama.”

Both the budget resolution and subsequent reconciliation bill are not subject to a filibuster and can pass the Senate with a majority vote. Given the narrow margins in both chambers, every Senate Democrat and nearly every House Democrat must vote in favor of the resolution and reconciliation bill for the measures to move forward.

Notably, a debt limit increase was not included in the budget resolution language. The current debt limit expired at the end of July, and Congress must act within the next few months to prevent the United States from defaulting on its debt; this sets up another must-pass legislative priority for the fall.

Congressional Schedule

The Senate remains in session and is likely to stay in Washington, D.C., until the chamber passes the partisan budget resolution. After the recess begins, senators are expected to return Sept. 12.

The House is set to return from its August recess on Sept. 20, but lawmakers could be called back sooner to consider the budget resolution.

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About the Author

Christina Fagnano is the legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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