December 8, 2021
We lost Bob Dole last weekend – a giant of a man who was one of the last of the Greatest Generation. His passing brought back memories for me and so many others of working with Leader Dole, and of a different time. I have included many of these memories in my tribute to Senator Dole.
Congressman Kevin Brady served as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and played an oversized role in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017. He is currently the Ranking Member of Ways and Means and is a masterful legislator on the issues before this committee. Congressman Erik Paulsen spent some time with his friend and former colleague, and his interview with Congressman Brady is in today’s Total Spectrum Spotlight.
Everyone is counting down the days until Christmas, and I think we can start to see how this legislative year might conclude. Minority Leader McConnell and Majority Leader Schumer have worked out a way that Democrats can take the lead and pass a debt ceiling bill. There is every reason to believe that there will be a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open. Ultimately the National Defense Authorization Act needs to pass, so it probably will, but the how is a little weaker than the why. Al Jackson elaborates on the defense authorization bill in his Defense Update. Ramona Lessen provides a report on a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S.-Russia Policy.
Majority Leader Schumer wrote a letter to his Democratic colleagues on December 6th. He wanted a vote on the Senate floor on the President’s Build Back Better bill before Christmas, but there has not been a great deal of progress. The Senate Parliamentarian is currently reviewing the bill to determine which parts of it are appropriate for a budget reconciliation bill, and Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) will have time to review and mold the bill after the Parliamentarian has made their decisions. Smart money is predicting that the Build Back Better bill will be kicked into next year.
The Senate and the House are scheduled to begin their Christmas recess on December 13th. My bet is that Congress will complete all they can and leave the remainder until 2022. As a great friend of mine said, “There is not much to be gained by sticking around until Christmas when nothing is going to get done.”