Push for Deal on Bills

Source: By Jerry Hagstrom, DTN Political Correspondentʥ Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Possible Action This Week on Build Back Better, Infrastructure Bills

Congressional negotiators are trying to reach an agreement on the Build Back Better Act so that the House could vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill this week. (DTN file photo by Nick Scalise)
Congressional negotiators are trying to reach an agreement on the Build Back Better Act so that the House could vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill this week. (DTN file photo by Nick Scalise)

WASHINGTON (DTN) — Congressional negotiators are trying to reach an agreement on the Build Back Better Act so that the House could vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill before President Joe Biden heads to Europe on Thursday for meetings of the G20 leaders and the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Both bills have important provisions for agriculture and rural America.

In his weekly calendar issued Friday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., listed “possible consideration” of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act in his weekly calendar for this week.

In order to provide Biden a policy victory before he heads to Europe, the vote on the infrastructure bill would have to occur Wednesday or Thursday. In his calendar notice, Hoyer noted that the House will not be in session on Friday.

On Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., noted that, on Sunday, Oct. 31, the Highway Trust Fund authorization expires and said “the best way” to address that is to pass the infrastructure bill.

Also on Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., met with Biden at the president’s Delaware home. On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Manchin has agreed to support a wealth tax.

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, maintained that his caucus will not budge on supporting the infrastructure bill before Oct. 31 if there is no agreement on the broader package, which would be passed under so-called budget reconciliation rules.

“The president needs the reconciliation agreement to go to Glasgow,” Khanna said on “Fox News Sunday.” He added: “That’s what is going to deal with climate change, that’s what’s going to hit his goals of 50% reduction by 2030. I’m confident we will have an agreement.”

Biden is scheduled to leave Thursday for Rome. On Friday, he will meet with Pope Francis and over the weekend will attend the meeting of the leaders of the G20 countries and meet with French President Emmanuel. Macron.

On Nov. 1 and 2, Biden will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland.

CNN is reporting that Biden is sending 13 senior administration officials to Glasgow, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. White House climate advisers John Kerry and Gina McCarthy will also attend the meeting.

STABENOW RELEASES LETTERS SUPPORTING BBB PROVISIONS

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., on Friday released letters from stakeholders supporting the climate, research and forestry provisions of the Build Back Better bill currently being negotiated in Congress.

There have been no public statements about what agriculture and food provisions that were passed by the House Agriculture Committee and negotiated with Senate Democrats remain in the bill as it is being finalized. But some groups have expressed concerns that ag and food provisions may be left out as congressional leaders try to cut the size of the bill from $3.5 trillion to about $2 trillion.

“These hundreds of stakeholders represent many of the leaders and communities most affected by the climate crisis, but also those best positioned to lead,” Stabenow said in a news release that described her as “the architect” of the incentives and programs for agriculture, forestry, research, and rural communities in the reconciliation package.

“What these important validators say is that we simply cannot make progress in our fight against the climate crisis without more resources to help clean our air, store carbon in our soil, safeguard our water, conserve energy, and fund the next generation of innovations,” Stabenow added.

“A number of key proposed investments will help our lands, communities and states prepare for, and ideally avoid, the frequency and severity of future disastrous climate impacts that our states have faced in recent years,” said Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. All the governors who signed the joint letter are Democrats.

“Specifically, we would draw your attention to and call upon you to support those items currently included in the House Agriculture Committee mark, and proposed by the Senate Agriculture Committee relating to forestry, climate-smart agriculture, research and clean energy.”

“Trees are some of our greatest tools to fight the climate crisis,” Stabenow said in a separate release of the letters backing the forestry provisions.

“These advocates support the Build Back Better Budget because it makes a crucial down payment to help our forests recover from historic wildfires and boost the ability of our public and private forestland to reverse the effects of the climate crisis.”

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