On Oct. 1, Congress passed a 30-day extension of the highway funding bill, just hours before surface transportation authorization lapsed. The extension came at the end of a weekslong negotiation and interparty disagreement on a trillion-dollar-plus budget reconciliation package and the bipartisan Senate-passed infrastructure bill, H.R.3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
After initially seeking to hold votes on both measures, the House was forced to postpone consideration on the IIJA after progressive Democrats refused to back it without an accompanying deal on a partisan budget reconciliation proposal. President Biden met with House Democrats last week, making it clear that the IIJA will not pass until there is a bicameral deal on reconciliation, essentially backing progressive’s stance against the vote and again tying the success of the two packages together for the time being.
Consideration of the packages could now be pushed to the end of October, as Democrats now work to craft a scaled back reconciliation package in attempts to persuade moderate senators, including key Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin, W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, Ariz., to back the proposal. President Biden stated that he expects an agreement on $1.9 trillion to $2.3 trillion, while Sen. Joe Manchin has proposed a $1.5 trillion top line for the reconciliation package, which includes a corporate tax rate of 25%, top income tax rate of 39.6% and a capital gains tax rate of 28%.
Republicans, concerned with Democrats’ go-it-alone approach on reconciliation’s tax hikes and spending, are also withholding votes to raise the nation’s debt limit and could force Democrats to include the debt limit increase in a separate reconciliation bill. In a letter to President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reiterated the Republicans’ position that Democrats have the tools necessary through reconciliation to raise the debt ceiling before the U.S. Treasury-announced deadline of Oct. 18, and called on Democrats to formulate a plan and for Biden to engage with congressional Democrats to address the “avoidable catastrophe.”
In a recent Construction Dive article, Kristen Swearingen, ABC’s vice president of legislative & political affairs, said "ABC continues to monitor any new developments on the bipartisan infrastructure deal and update members accordingly, and we do remain concerned with the president's insistence on tying the bipartisan negotiated bill to the partisan reconciliation package. ABC is continuing to meet with members of Congress and urge them to oppose dangerous tax hikes and costly labor policies that have been proposed for inclusion in reconciliation."
ABC strongly urges its members to reach out to their members of Congress to voice their concerns with the partisan budget reconciliation package by using the ABC Action Center.