Earlier this year, President Biden laid out his plans for broad-based reform on a number of issues. In order for Capitol Hill to pass this large, partisan package, they have decided to move forward through a budget reconciliation process, which allows them to pass the bill with only Senate Democrats voting in favor of a reconciliation bill.
The House has started to develop and consider through each Committee their relevant portions of the bill, which will ultimately total $3.5 trillion. Both chambers passed a budget resolution setting up the process last month. Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders had initially wanted a $6 trillion package and was negotiated down to $3.5 trillion. However, the final numbers are still unknown because moderates in both chambers are threatening to slow down the process.
Still, RPG feels confident that some type of reconciliation package will pass through the United States Congress and be signed by the President in the coming months. We are excited to have secured billions of dollars for our clients, primarily nonprofit organizations, in the House version of the bill through our government affairs activities. Those wins include the below.
Economic Development, Innovation, and Small Business
- $4 billion to invest in the creation of regional innovation hubs. Regional technology and innovation hubs, when spurred from independent economic data on the regional economic focus, existing economic clusters, and federal innovation priorities, such as clean energy, tech, STEM, biotech, and biodefense, help to ensure that all stakeholders within a sector come together to spur targeted economic development to meet market need.
- $1 billion for EDA’s Economic Adjustment Assistance program
- $20 million for an emerging managers Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, through which less experienced managers and those with an emphasis on underserved markets can receive guidance and assistance from experienced fund managers
- $40 million for a Micro SBIC program, which allows for less initial private sector investment to receive SBA leverage, requires a percentage of investments to be made in underserved markets, and increases the pool of eligible fund manager applicants.
- $1 billion over 10 years for State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) specifically to states that have manufacturing losses. Funding must be used for investment to strengthen the resiliency of supply chains in critical industries and promote economic competitiveness in the United States, including supporting a strong manufacturing base that promotes innovative and advanced manufacturing technology.
- $5 billion over 10 years for Department of Commerce regional innovation initiatives currently authorized under Stevenson-Wydler, such as Build to Scale or other regional innovation efforts.
Individuals with Disabilities
- $190 billion for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) infrastructure improvement planning grants
- 7 percentage point increase in the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for HCBS and an enhanced federal match of 80 percent for administrative activities associated with improving HCBS programs
- $300 million for fiscal year 2022 to award 5-year competitive grants to states to support employers who have been given 14(c) certificates to transition away from 14(c) toward competitive, integrated employment.
Pandemic Preparedness and Response
- $10 billion for Hospital Infrastructure with a priority to applicants whose projects will include, by design, public health emergency preparedness, natural disaster emergency preparedness, or cybersecurity against cyber threats.
- $5 billion for State and local public health laboratory infrastructure improvements
- $1.25 billion to strengthen vaccine confidence
- $1.25 billion to strengthen CDC surveillance programs
- $500 million for CDC Data Modernization
- $3 billion to support hospital surge capacity
- $2 billion shall be used to support expanded global and domestic vaccine production
- $2 billion shall be used to support activities to mitigate supply chain risks
- $500 million for BARDA
- $500 million for Biosecurity
- $3 billion for ARPA-H, a new federal organization dedicated to solving our health care challenges. This includes our recommendations to require coordination between nonprofits and the private sector and designates personnel to serve as program managers for terms of no more than 3 years.
- $150 billion for a Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) at the Department of Energy (DOE)
- A 5-year Production Tax Credit for the existing nuclear fleet to ensure they are able to continue providing high-quality clean energy
- $500 million for School Kitchen Equipment grants, including a 5% set aside for scratch cooking technical assistance, to ensure healthy, scratch-cooked meals for public education students
The items above outline just some of the exciting provisions our government relations firm in DC were able to secure as part of the package. The best advocacy organizations in Washington, DC, know that it takes work all the way through the finish line. We have a long way ahead to final passage and continue to advocate for these priorities on behalf of our clients.
This blog post was written for Ridge Policy Group, a top government affairs firm, by Zaida Ricker.