Outlook for the week of August 1: Senate schedule remains busy | Alston & Vogel

The House of Representatives has gone into recess in August, but the Senate is still in session.

Senate Democrats will seek to pass their budget ballot package after a massive breakthrough last week when Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) reached an agreement with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on details of the legislation. The proposal would raise an estimated $739 billion, with proceeds going to fund climate and health initiatives, as well as reducing the budget deficit. They are still waiting to hear from Senator Elizabeth MacDonough on what can be included in the reconciliation to ensure it meets the required parameters. Additionally, the agreement still has the potential to change, including a promise by Schumer to include provisions addressing the high cost of insulin. Democrats will also need all 50 members of their parliamentary group plus Vice President Kamala Harris to ensure passage of the law. They have been hampered in recent weeks because senators have tested positive for COVID-19.

Senate Democrats will also vote again on legislation to provide expanded health benefits to veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during the war. The legislation had previously received overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses, but Republican senators convened last week to oppose the legislation over concerns about discretionary spending limits provided for in the bill. Schumer has indicated he will allow an amendment vote by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) that would limit the amount of spending that could be shifted from discretionary to mandatory under the legislation.

In addition, the Senate will continue negotiations on a resolution supporting Finland and Sweden’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Approval of the two countries’ bids remains popular in Congress, but passage of the bill was delayed due to concerns by some Republicans about further NATO expansion.

Senate side

On Monday, the Senate will vote on the nomination of Elizabeth Hanes for the US District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia. The upper house is also expected to vote this week on a resolution — supported by all 50 Republican senators — that would strike down changes to the nation’s environmental permitting laws enacted by the Biden administration in April.

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