The Sausage Making: House Aims To Pass Reconciliation Bill This Week

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)(Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for SEIU)
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November 17, 2021 6:15 p.m.

Now that it’s finished censuring Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and stripping him of his committee assignments, the House will turn its attention back to the reconciliation bill. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters Wednesday morning that he’s hoping to vote on the bill late Thursday, though it may get bumped to Friday or even over the weekend. The chamber is waiting for the CBO score of the package, which is expected by Friday. 

House moderates, who have occasionally expressed reluctance to vote for the reconciliation bill without accompanying economic forecasts, are signaling their readiness to vote for it even if the CBO score finds various payfors to be lacking. 

Scheduling Notes

  • The Senate is aiming to move on the must-pass annual National Defense Authorization Act Thursday, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) told reporters. But some squabbling over a bill concerning competition with China is currently holding things up. 
  • In a new letter, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told senators that money to fund the government will hold out until Dec. 15 — giving lawmakers an extra two weeks to figure out how to raise or suspend the debt ceiling. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has notably left doing it through reconciliation on the table so far. Last time we saw this movie, Schumer insisted on doing it with Republican support, ultimately leading Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to support a temporary measure that kicked the problem to December. 
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) indicated that he’d be fine voting on the reconciliation bill this year. “I’m not in charge of the timing,” he told reporters. “Whatever they want to do is fine with me. If we’re gonna vote, vote.” Manchin had previously given his colleagues fits by suggesting a “strategic pause” in the reconciliation negotiations. 
  • Both chambers are out next week for Thanksgiving, so, if the House does pass the reconciliation bill this week, the Senate will go to work when it returns. The “can you get this done by Thanksgiving?” questions from reporters have wearily turned to “can you get it done by Christmas?”

Inflation Nation 

  • Democrats have two inflation problems: a real one, involving the current spike, and an imaginary one, where Manchin clings to inflation fears as pretext to kill or slow down the reconciliation bill (despite broad expert agreement that the reconciliation bill will not hike the inflation rate).
  • Many Democratic senators not named Manchin told TPM that they’re not buying the swoon, echoing the White House line that the reconciliation bill will actually help dampen inflationary effects over the decade it’s in action. 
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