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Congressional Update: Build Back Better Plan

This week, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce advanced provisions of a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package. The Democrats are hoping to pass the reconciliation package as a companion to a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that has bipartisan support. The reconciliation package, which is being referred to as the Build Back Better Plan, aims to expand education, health care, and childcare support, address climate change, and increase investments in various types of infrastructure, including additional funding for lead service line removal. Some highlights of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s section of the bill include:

  • $100 million for Public Water System Supervision (PWSS) grants to states;
  • $30 billion for lead service line replacement through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund;
  • $500 million for grants for water systems to improve resiliency to natural disasters; and
  • $700 million for grants to reduce lead in drinking water at schools

While the $1 trillion infrastructure package has bipartisan support, Republicans do not support the $3.5 trillion package. Therefore, Senate Democrats are using budget reconciliation to pass the bill with a simple majority vote. However, Democrats must convince moderate party members to back the bill to achieve a majority, some of which have raised concerns about the size and scope of the program.

Additionally, the end of the fiscal year is approaching without an approved spending bill for FY22. Congress plans to pass a continuing resolution to fund government operations and avoid a government shutdown. The House Committee on Rules is planning to meet on Monday, September 20, to take up the stopgap funding bill.