Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
March 29, 2021

Both the House and Senate are now in recess for Easter and Passover.  The Senate will reconvene at 3:00 pm on Monday, April 12th and the House on Tuesday, April 13th, with votes at 6:30.  For today, both the House and Senate will hold brief pro forma sessions this morning.  The Senate will also hold pro forma sessions on Thursday, April 1st at 10:00 am, Monday, April 5th at 2:00 pm and Thursday, April 8th at 5:30 pm.

While Congress is in recess, President Joe Biden will lay out the first part of his multitrillion-dollar economic recovery package this week, Build Back Better, focusing on rebuilding roads, bridges and other infrastructure, followed by a separate plan later in April addressing child and health care.  Over the weekend, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the administration’s plans to split the package into two legislative proposals, part of an effort to get support from congressional Republicans. But she added that “we’ll work with the Senate and House to see how it should move forward.”  Biden will release details in a speech on Wednesday in Pittsburgh about his proposal for federal investments in physical infrastructure, an issue that has drawn modest Republican support despite wariness over a large package so soon after passage of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan.  Plans are still in flux, with the White House recently discussing a combined $3 trillion in spending to boost the economy and improve quality of life.  The infrastructure package will lay the groundwork for Biden’s goal of steering America’s economy toward clean energy and manufacturing and the White House sees an infrastructure package as the best way to tackle climate change and get the country to net-zero electricity emissions by 2035, by installing more electric vehicle charging stations on the nation’s roads, modernizing the electrical grid, and incentivizing more wind and solar projects. It could be financed at least in part with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans as discussions on paying for the package continue.

The Biden administration also will release this week its proposed discretionary budget for fiscal 2022, providing insight into the president’s top priorities and laying down a marker for Congress. The budget proposal will include funding levels by agencies and guidance on investments.  The proposed budget will be the first in a decade not to be limited by caps on discretionary spending, making it easier for Biden to propose spending increases for longtime Democratic priorities such as education and housing and other areas neglected by the Trump administration.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.