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WASHINGTON — At this point, the collective question from congressional insiders and observers might be: What won’t be happening in December?
Deadlines for the debt ceiling and fiscal 2022 government funding responsibilities have been scheduled for early December. And congressional leaders are pointing to the likelihood of a lengthy multitrillion-dollar budget reconciliation process, the culmination of which might intersect with the end-of-the-year legislative tasks.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on ABC News’ “This Week” urged bipartisan action on raising the debt ceiling. She also reiterated President Joe Biden’s sentiment on the Build Back Better domestic agenda: “I think everyone realizes, all the Democrats in Congress, that this is an historic opportunity that we have to invest in this, in this country, to address some long-standing structural problems that have been holding back American families, making their lives difficult, making it hard for children to succeed, and making business more competitive; putting in place the investments that we need in this economy to help us, to help us compete.”
For emphasis, she continued, “I believe that Democrats will come together and do what’s necessary and take advantage of this opportunity.”
Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have been a source of intraparty pushback to the president’s social infrastructure budgetary aims. So far, pressure from these moderate Democrats probably helped reduce the budget reconciliation bill by more than $1 trillion.
“We seem to be settling in at around [$2 trillion], somewhere around [$2 trillion]; maybe a little bit more, maybe a tiny bit less. I hope not that much less,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) told Transport Topics last week. He chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Industry stakeholders, concerned about short-term highway policy extensions, have ramped up calls for action on Capitol Hill.
Ed Mortimer, vice president of transportation infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told TT, “The U.S. Chamber and our members are disappointed that the House was unable to act on a long-term infrastructure bill and instead passed a 30-day extension. This was a missed opportunity, and we urge prompt House approval of the bipartisan infrastructure bill so the nation can begin the critical job of modernizing our infrastructure.”
The Transportation Construction Coalition observed, “These significant investments will immediately begin to create new, well-paying careers and improve our nation’s roads and bridges, which will increase productivity and economic competitiveness for decades to come.”
The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)
Oct. 12, 1 p.m.: The Bipartisan Policy Center hosts a panel on climate change resilience with former Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).
Oct. 13, 10 a.m.: AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler delivers remarks at the National Press Club.
Oct. 13, 12 p.m.: House Contracting and Infrastructure Subcommittee meets for a hearing titled, “Growing the Small Business Supplier Base in Government Contracting.”
Oct. 14, 12 p.m.: House Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee meets for a hearing titled, “Impacts of Abandoned Offshore Oil and Gas Infrastructure and the Need for Stronger Federal Oversight.”
Oct. 15, 12 p.m.: House Housing, Community Development, and Insurance Subcommittee meets for a hearing titled, “Zoned Out: Examining the Impact of Exclusionary Zoning on People, Resources, and Opportunity.”
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, recently unveiled legislation meant to boost cooperation among states, municipalities and federal agencies related to climate change-centric preparation efforts.
As the chairwoman put it, “[The Federal Agency Climate PREP Act would] play a critical role in ensuring that the federal government works in concert with local and state governments to better plan for and mitigate the very real climate crisis we face.”
Biden on Oct. 6 announced his intent to nominate John Putnam for general counsel at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The Veep with a reality check.
Let’s have fun with numbers.
Why it’s going to be hard to remove the debt ceiling cudgel from our politics: https://t.co/ybBf79c0vF— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) October 7, 2021
The Last Word
The climate crisis is here today, threatening Americans’ lives and livelihoods, our homes and businesses, and even the way we travel and operate our federal agencies.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Oct. 7
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