Congress Continues Work on Key Funding Bills as Deadlines Slip
Congressional negotiators have bought themselves more time to hammer out agreements to address several looming issues reported on in last week’s Current, most notably avoiding a government shutdown, raising the debt limit, and passing infrastructure investment legislation.
Late last week both chambers passed a short-term measure that would fund the government through December 3rd. The deadline to raise the debt limit remains October 18th, with several options being considered to address the issue. Negotiations between Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) and Majority Democrats continued in recent days, and it appears the parties have reached agreement to also raise the debt limit until early December.
On infrastructure, House Democrats were in disagreement last week and Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) declined to bring the Senate-passed bipartisan Infrastructure Bill up for a vote as planned, as she was not confident it had the votes to pass. Instead, Democrats set a new October 31st deadline to pass this landmark legislation, although this deadline is similarly non-binding.
Democrats also continue to negotiate amongst themselves on the size and scope of their Reconciliation package, which party leaders hope will build on the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and make strong investments in climate resilience, social programs, and more. Progressives and moderates within the Democratic party in the House and Senate continue to debate the appropriate size and scope of this package. After stalemate, these conversations have begun to move forward this week and it seems likely that the package in full will be scaled back from $3.5 trillion in total cost to around $2 trillion.
NACWA staff remains closely engaged as these deliberations continue, and encourages members to continue advocating to their respective Members of Congress on the positive impact clean water investments have on their utility and community to help ensure that if overall spending levels are cut, clean water investments remain a strong component of the package.