After a tense week of negotiations on Capitol Hill that included a rare visit from the President and visible interparty disagreement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced to delay the highly anticipated vote on the bi-partisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA). Lawmakers had originally been told the vote would be held no later than September 27, but fears over missing that deadline were realized when the vote was pushed to the September 30. Once it became clear that opposition to the bill was steadfast among progressive Democrats, Speaker Pelosi had no choice but to punt the vote further into the calendar, which places a cloud of uncertainty over the GFOA muni bond provisions that currently sit in the House version of a budget reconciliation bill. GFOA member outreach on issues like restoring advance refunding and increasing the small borrower/bank qualified limit will be critical in the coming weeks.
Driving much of the disarray is a sharp difference between moderate and progressive Democrats who disagree on the topline spending figures of President Biden’s legislative priorities. Earlier in the year, progressive Democrats in the House made clear that support for the Senate-passed IIJA was contingent on a commitment to the budget reconciliation bill that satisfied their legislative goals. But moderate members of the Senate, chiefly Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), have balked at the lofty $3.5 trillion price tag of the budget bill, leading to the twenty-four-hour negotiation crunch that played out during the final days of September.
As a result, on October 4, Speaker Pelosi set a new deadline of October 31 to vote on the infrastructure bill. Congressional Democrats will have the rest of the month to bridge the sizeable gaps both within their party and across the aisle with the hope of moving forward on both packages.
GFOA’s Federal Liaison Center (FLC) created an overview page on the muni bond priorities to help members as they reach out to their respective congressional delegation. Click here for a brief summary and additional resources on the priorities.
GFOA’s FLC will continue to monitor this legislative activity.