September 10, 2021
The House Ways and Means Committee on Friday completed its second public meeting on the $3.5 trillion tax and spending bill. This article has been updated to report what occurred during that meeting.
The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday began its multi-day public meetings on the $3.5 trillion tax and spending bill. During these meetings, lawmakers on the panel will debate and propose amendments to the bill. Beside today, meetings are expected for Friday, September 10, Tuesday, September 14, and Wednesday, September 15.
Today’s meeting did not focus on tax increases. Those meetings are expected to occur next week. Instead, committee members debated and proposed amendments on the following subjects: Workplace issues (like paid family and medical leave for workers), retirement, elder care, childcare, nursing homes, and trade. These subjects will also be debated during tomorrow’s meeting. Details (including legislative text and provision summaries) on these subjects can be found here.
Thursday's Action: The Committee vetted several amendments for Subtitles A, B and C of the bill, but none were adopted. The Committee then approved the Subtitles for passage. Those sections of the bill now travel to the House Budget Committee.
UPDATE: Friday's Action: The Committee vetted several amendments for Subtitles D, and parts 1, 2, 3, 4 of Subtitle E, but none of the amendments were adopted. The Committee then approved the Subtitles for passage. Those sections of the bill now travel to the House Budget Committee.
The Big Picture:
The House Ways and Means Committee is not the only House committee that is drafting legislation for the $3.5 trillion tax and spending bill. Currently, the goal is for all the House committees to complete their bills by September 15 and submit them to the House Budget Committee where they will be combined into one piece of legislation. That legislation will then be the subject of a House floor vote.
House Democratic leaders want a floor vote on the $3.5 trillion bill by September 27th so that the chamber can also vote on the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which has already passed the Senate. More information on the infrastructure bill is here.
At this point, it is not clear if House Democrats have the votes to pass from its chamber the $3.5 trillion tax and spending bill or the $1.2 Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. The reason: Passage of one bill depends on the passage of the other and House Democrats disagree on which bill should be voted on first.
Regarding the $3.5 trillion tax and spending bill, House Democrats are drafting the legislation so that it can pass the Senate. The reason is because enactment of the bill will be faster if both chambers agree on the same legislative text before votes are cast. (Important to note: This bill can pass the Senate with only Democratic support.)
However, despite these efforts by House Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) might strip several provisions from the House-passed bill and replace them with measures that Senate Democrats support. If this occurs, the House will have to approve those changes.
The ping-ponging of the bill between the chambers will be time consuming and means that it will take longer for the legislation to be signed into law. (Again, that assumes the bill passes both chambers, which is currently not a sure thing.)
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