Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
December 13, 2021

The Senate is facing a make or break week on the Build Back Better legislation.  The Senate will also work on completing two other items: raising the debt ceiling and passing the sweeping defense policy bill which will position Democrats by the end of the week to have a clear floor schedule to try to pass the sweeping social legislation by Christmas. Democrats have just 10 days to meet their self-imposed deadline and face growing headaches that could prevent them from meeting their goal, including new concerns about record inflation, procedural steps that have to be completed before they can take the bill to the Senate floor and ongoing negotiations even after months of talks are among the obstacles.  The Senate is also facing a cliff on the child tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of the year and for payments to continue, either the Build Back Better legislation, or a short-term extension, must be passed by December 28th, or January payments could be disrupted.  Over the weekend, the Senate’s Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees released updated text of their sections of the bill with Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, (D-Oregon) saying they will hold bipartisan meetings with the parliamentarian, where Republicans can challenge provisions, over the coming week.  To advance the legislation, both Democrats and Republicans will separately meet with Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough and then they have a formal meeting with MacDonough together, where they both make their cases on why the bill does, or doesn’t, comply with the Senate’s budget rules, which Democrats are using to bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster.

For today, the Senate will reconvene at 3:00 P.M. and will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of the nomination of Samantha D. Elliott to be United States District Judge for the District of New Hampshire and will vote on confirmation of Lucy Haeran Koh to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.

The House will reconvene tomorrow and is expected to consider H.R. 5665 – Combating International Islamophobia Act and a resolution recommending that the “House of Representatives Find Mark R. Meadows in Contempt of Congress for Refusal to Comply with a Subpoena Duly Issued by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.”

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.