Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
November 19, 2021

In a huge win for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and House Democrats, this morning the House passed one of the most consequential pieces of legislation (TEXT) in half a century which is the centerpiece of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, approving $2 trillion in spending over the next decade to battle climate change, expand health care and reweave the nation’s social safety net, over the unanimous opposition of Republicans.  The bill passed this morning after an exhausting, circuitous and often rambling speech of more than eight hours by the House Minority Leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, that pushed a planned Thursday vote past midnight, then delayed it to Friday morning, but ultimately did not change even one vote. The bill’s passage was 220 to 213 with all Democrats voting yes except one.  The bill still has a long road ahead. Democratic leaders must coax it through the 50-50 Senate and navigate a tortuous budget process that is almost certain to reshape the measure and force it back to the House.  But even pared back from the $3.5 trillion plan that President Biden originally sought, the legislation could prove as transformative as any since the Great Society and War on Poverty in the 1960s, especially for young families and older Americans. The Congressional Budget Office published an official cost estimate on Thursday afternoon that found the package would increase the federal budget deficit by $160 billion over 10 years.

Statement by President Joe Biden on Passage of the Build Back Better Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Speaker Pelosi Floor Speech on H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act.

The Senate was briefly in session today and confirmed seven new U.S. Attorneys for Colorado, North Carolina , Ohio, Pennsylvania and Arizona as well as the Ambassador to Singapore.  The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) also inched forward during the quiet Friday session when the Senate quickly approved a procedural motion to finally begin debate on the bill.  The Senate’s $768 billion defense policy bill is on hold until after Thanksgiving after efforts to vote on an array of amendments broke down late Thursday evening under objections from several Republicans.  After days of wrangling over what amendments would receive votes or be included in a bipartisan manager’s package, Senate Armed Services Chair Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) sought to secure votes Thursday evening on 19 amendments from Democrats and Republicans.  But seven Republicans took turns blocking votes because their amendments weren’t included — some with little connection to defense policy at all.

At 3 P.M. today two turkeys, Peanut Butter and Jelly, will stand before President Biden during this year’s annual turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden. President Biden will decide which of the two male turkeys that hail from a farm in Jasper, Ind., becomes this year’s official Thanksgiving turkey.  The other turkey’s life will also be spared. The two will go on to live at Purdue University’s Animal Science Research and Education Center.

The House and Senate are both now in recess with the House returning for votes at 6:30 P.M. on Tuesday, November 30th and the Senate returning at 3:00 P.M. on Monday, November 29th.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. Daily Update will resume publication on Monday, November 29th after the Thanksgiving Recess.