So what’s happening on The Hill in D.C.?

August 22, 2021

Lawmakers in Washington are working to adopt a new federal budget that is required to be in place by October 1, 2021.  The likelihood that this timeframe will be met is not good due to holdups associated with the presidential transition that occurred earlier this year.  

Below is information I asked the National Council to pull together that tries to simplify a complicated situation.  Use the links embedded to explore the details of the two related efforts underway:   

Capitol Hill Update: Budget Resolution and the Infrastructure Package

House Democratic leadership recently outlined the chamber’s schedule – when the House returns on Monday, lawmakers will vote on a rule that will set up debate on the Senate-passed budget resolution and the bipartisan infrastructure deal.

Budget Resolution:
The budget resolution is slated for a final up-or-down vote in the House on Tuesday. The Senate-passed resolution includes a list of policies on health care, education, climate change, tax reform, housing, labor, and more. Some refer to these as  “Human Infrastructure” proposals (rather than roads and bridges that is the subject of the initial infrastructure package – see below).  “Human Infrastructure” proposals  related to health care include: (1) extending the American Rescue Plan’s expansion of the Affordable Care Act’s income-based subsidies; (2) addressing the Medicaid coverage gap; (3) expanding Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing benefits; (4) lowering the Medicare eligibility age; (5) expanding Graduate Medical Education slots; (6) funding to support access to primary care; (7) boosting Medicaid home and community-based services; (8) investing in new health equity initiatives; (9) funding for future pandemic preparedness efforts; and (10) a federal paid family and medical leave benefit. 

Read a breakdown of the budget resolution. Any policy guidelines accompanying the budget resolution are neither final nor exclusive. Moving forward, Democrats will aim to pass the package via reconciliation, a powerful procedural tool that allows budget bills to move through the Senate via a simple majority and avoid a legislative filibuster. The budget resolution can be a key opportunity to include efforts that bolster mental health and substance use service across the country, including the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act of 2021, and other initiatives aimed at allowing LPCs and MFTs to bill Medicare, and retention bonuses.

Infrastructure Package:
The Senate recently passed a version of this package. The package is not expected to be taken up in the House for vote until later in the fall, following budget reconciliation. The provisions included in this package include roads/bridges, broadband access, water, the power grid, airports, and more.