Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called a procedural vote on July 21 that would have allowed senators to begin debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal. Senators rejected the procedure, citing the lack of legislative text and the need for additional time for ongoing discussions and noting the senators leading negotiations anticipate reaching a deal on the package as soon as today, July 26. Majority Leader Schumer is expected to schedule another procedural vote this week.
While negotiations on the bipartisan infrastructure bill continue, Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has instructed his staff to begin drafting a fiscal year 2022 budget resolution with reconciliation instructions that determine how the resolution’s $3.5 trillion will be allocated by Senate committees. The Senate is expected to take up debate over the reconciliation package the first week in August before senators are scheduled to leave DC on August 9 for recess. To begin debate on the reconciliation bill, the Senate must first reach an agreement on the bipartisan package. Failing to reach an agreement, the bipartisan provisions will be folded into the reconciliation package, bringing the total funding target to $4.1 trillion. Majority Leader Schumer has stated his commitment to keeping the chamber in session as it takes to complete both packages.
Voting on a budget resolution is the first step towards enacting a reconciliation package, which only requires 50 votes to pass the Senate instead of the usual 60 required in the chamber. As negotiations continue, advocates should weigh in with their members of Congress and tell them to include the robust resources necessary to address the nation’s severe shortage of affordable, accessible housing for the lowest-income people. This infrastructure and recovery legislation is an extraordinary and unique opportunity to invest in proven affordable housing solutions, including rental assistance, public housing, and the national Housing Trust Fund, at the scale necessary. NLIHC urges advocates to continue contacting members of Congress to remind them that housing is infrastructure and must be included in any reconciliation package.
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