Democrats Set Target Date to Pass I/C Wipeout and Infrastructure Bills
Washington D.C. – July is going to be a very busy month for Democrats on Capitol Hill as they press forward on plans to pass major priorities of the Biden Administration.
In a letter to colleagues last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) put forward his target date to win Senate approval on a $953 billion infrastructure proposal along with a budget reconciliation bill — likely to include the highly controversial Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.
“My intention for this work period is for the Senate to consider both the bipartisan infrastructure legislation and a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions, which is the first step for passing legislation through the reconciliation process,” Mr. Schumer wrote.
The Senate work period ends on Monday, August 9.
However, the Majority Leader also informed colleagues to “prepare for a busier work period… [possible] late night votes, weekend votes and changes to the August schedule.”
The infrastructure deal, struck last month between the White House and a bipartisan group of senators, remains tenuous at best, but Democrats are hopeful to ultimately get the 60 votes necessary for passage.
The same cannot be said for the rest of their agenda though.
That’s why they are planning to pass the bulk of their priorities — amounting to more than $6 trillion in spending initiatives — through the budget reconciliation process which only requires 51 votes.
This course of action is Democrats’ best chance for success since they hold only a slim majority in the Senate given that Vice President Kamala Harris will likely cast any deciding vote.
Among the items Democrats are expected to attempt to pass via reconciliation is the PRO Act, which trucking groups almost unanimously vehemently oppose.
In fact, few issues in the last century has galvanized such widespread solidarity among trucking groups as the threat of the PRO Act becoming law.
The American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association, Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association, Small Business in Transportation Coalition, National Association of Small Trucking Companies and Transportation Intermediaries Association… just to name a few… have each spoken out in opposition to the PRO Act.
These groups assert if the PRO Act were to become the law of the land, it could be used to eliminate trucking’s longstanding leasing model.
The result would be that a lease operator who wishes to remain in the trucking industry would be left with either choosing to obtain his/her own authority — and take on skyrocketing insurance costs — or become a company driver and even possibly be coerced to join a union.
All 50 Senate Republicans oppose the PRO Act and object to Democrats using the reconciliation process to achieve what they could not through regular order.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is vowing to stop it.
“This is a fight worth having,” Mr. McConnell said during a press conference last week in his home state. “I don’t think they have a mandate to do it. And all this is going to unfold here in the next few weeks.”
If Senate Majority Leader Schumer is able to achieve his goals, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has indicated she will quickly take up the infrastructure and budget reconciliation measures in order to expeditiously get them to President Biden’s desk.
TransportationNation.com will be following it closely.