CHN: What’s next: After rescue comes recovery

With President Biden’s American Rescue Plan signed in to law (see related article in this Human Needs Report for more on this), focus is shifting to what comes next. The president’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget is expected to be released in April, and it will lay the groundwork for a longer-term recovery plan. This plan will likely be broad and could include provisions related to infrastructure, climate and the environment, lowering prescription drug prices, immigration reform, and building a more equitable economy.

It’s anticipated that Democratic leadership in Congress will again try to move the package using a process called reconciliation, which allows legislation in the Senate to proceed without the possibility of filibuster, or unlimited debate intended to stymie legislation. Ending a filibuster takes 60 votes; without that tactic, reconciliation bills can pass with only a simple majority (51 votes in the Senate).

House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth (D-KY) said that Democrats could begin the reconciliation process by passing another budget resolution that directs committees to draft individual pieces of the package as early as May, though final passage of a package may not happen until the fall. The House and Senate Budget Committees would prefer to wait to do their budget resolutions until after President Biden submits his budget for FY 2022.

For more information about how reconciliation works, see this recorded webinar: Budget Strategy to Pass a COVID Bill in the Senate: Reconciliation 101