New Schumer Dear Colleague: Update on Build Back Better Act Progress in SenateDecember 6, 2021
See below letter from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to the Senate Democratic Caucus providing an update on the steps being taken to achieve the goal of passing the Build Back Better Act in the Senate before Christmas.
As we enter the remaining weeks of the 2021 Senate Session, I want to give you an update on the development of the Build Back Better Act.
As you know, the House passed the Build Back Better Act shortly before Thanksgiving. You can find summary materials and the official CBO and JCT scores of the House-passed bill on our website. Now that the House has passed the reconciliation bill, our goal in the Senate is to pass the legislation before Christmas and get it to the president’s desk. Of course, there are other priorities we plan to address before the end of the year as well, including voting rights, debt limit, NDAA, among others. To meet this timeline on Build Back Better specifically, we have to take the following steps.
First and foremost, the Senate committees are preparing the Senate version of the bill by making necessary technical and “Byrd proofing” edits to the House bill. Our committees started meeting with her office over the summer to prepare for this moment and now they are having their final meetings.
On Friday and Saturday, 8 of the 12 Senate committees that were given Reconciliation instructions submitted their final Senate text to the Parliamentarian, the Congressional Budget Office and the Senate Republicans. The committees with the two largest pieces of the bill - Finance and HELP - are set to have their final Democratic-only briefings on Monday and Tuesday with the formal bipartisan Byrd Bath meetings to follow. Our goal is to finalize the remaining committees over the course of this week and next. I am confident that Senators will have ample time to review the text and CBO scores.
As you know, the Byrd Bath is a process where Democratic and Republican staff argue the merits of particular provisions for inclusion in a Reconciliation bill. As we have discussed, that process has already begun for some of the immigration-related provisions. The remaining provisions will begin the Byrd Bath process after all of the final text is submitted and the pre-meetings with the Parliamentarian are complete.
I especially want to thank the Senate Parliamentarian and the staff for all of the time and energy they have dedicated to this process. It is a very onerous job and they are handling it with professionalism.
Finally, I will continue to remind you that there are more long days and nights, and potentially weekends, that the Senate will be in session this month. For this coming week, we anticipate processing nominations and a final conference agreement on NDAA. Due to the time it may take to process those items in the Senate without cooperation, Senators should prepare for potential weekend votes. There will also be services at the Capitol to honor the life of our former colleague, Senator Bob Dole, this week. More information will be sent out as soon as plans are finalized.
I look forward to seeing you this week.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator