On Tuesday, as part of a larger piece of legislation, the House approved the budget resolution that will enable lawmakers to move forward with writing the broad “human infrastructure” package to enact much of President Biden’s American Jobs and American Families Plans. The 220–212 party-line vote came after days of delays, with a small group of moderate Democrats threatening to vote against the budget resolution if the House did not first vote on the traditional infrastructure package passed by the Senate earlier this month. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ultimately brokered a compromise including a commitment that the House would consider the infrastructure bill by September 27, following passage of the budget resolution and substantive work on the human infrastructure package itself. That legislative package, which will need to pass the Senate with just the votes of the 50 Democratic senators under the “budget reconciliation” process, is expected to include the proposed expansion of home- and community-based services (HCBS) with $400 billion in funding and currently has an overall cost of $3.5 billion. However, because Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) continue to state that they will not support the package at its current cost, negotiations continue on the cost and content of the package. Finalizing the bill is expected to take several more weeks at least.
Lutheran Services in America continues to advocate for the inclusion of key provisions of the President’s proposals in the reconciliation package, particularly the $400 billion HCBS investment (which is outlined in the Better Care Better Jobs Act, S. 2210/H.R. 4131) and a provision for $213 billion for affordable housing and homelessness services, and is urging the inclusion of the WORK NOW Act legislation (S. 740) to provide nonprofit health and human services organizations funding to pay wages, salaries, and benefits to retain staff and meet services’ demand. Please join us in this effort through our advocacy alert calling for inclusion of these key initiatives in the package.
By Sarah Dobson, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy