Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
November 1, 2021

Both the House and Senate return later today to Washington looking for major progress on Democrats’ climate and social spending bill, as negotiations kicked into a furious pace through the weekend in hopes of voting early this week.  In the Senate there are two votes slated for 5:30 p.m. on appeals court nominees and in the House, members will work through a series of suspension bills from the Natural Resources Committee.  With no meeting of the House Rules Committee scheduled for today, it will likely be at least Wednesday before the House can take up the social spending package.  The pieces of the package still under negotiation are Prescription drugs, Immigration, paid leave, and SALT- state and local tax relief.

Democrats are reportedly zeroing in on a deal to lower prescription drug prices that the party hopes it could add to President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending bill as soon as Monday.  The latest draft effort includes a redesign of Medicare Part D, drug negotiation and rebates that’s not as expansive as the House’s landmark “H.R. 3” drug bill but is based on the same parameters.  A group of 15 vulnerable House Democrats is calling on leadership to include a measure to lower prescription drug prices as negotiations on the issue intensify.  The letter cites Democrats’ repeated campaign promises to lower the cost of drugs.  Provisions to lower drug prices were left out of the framework of the Build Back Better package that the White House unveiled last week. But there is now a scramble to get a deal on the issue before the House votes on the package as early as this week, and negotiators have made progress

Of note, Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) said he will release a statement later today on Democrats’ reconciliation package, days after President Biden released a framework for the proposal.  “I think I will clear up a lot of things sometime today.  I think there needs to be clarity on where everybody stands.”  Democratic Leadership continues to hope to get both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the larger social programs bill done this week.  As of now, both the House and Senate are scheduled to be in recess next week, and then will return for a week before the Thanksgiving break.

For today, the Senate will vote on the nominations of Beth Robinson to be United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit and Toby J. Heytens to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit.  The House will vote on eight bills under suspension of the Rules from the Natural Resources Committee.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.