On Thursday, January 13th, the leadership of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees met to discuss setting parameters for reaching an agreement on how to proceed on completing fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations. While Senator Leahy (D-Vermont) described the meeting as “constructive”, agreements have not yet been reached and a date was not set for a follow up meeting. The federal government is currently running on an extension of funding at FY 2021 levels. The extension expires on February 18th, leaving less than 5 weeks to agree on 2022 funding levels, settle outstanding questions about policy provisions, and pass the resulting legislation.  

Regarding reconciliation and the Build Back Better Act, some Democrats are quietly discussing whether to break out and modify parts of the bill they believe might have a chance of passing if presented for consideration as separate, smaller bills. This approach may result in the passage of some of the less controversial provisions, while leaving behind those portions that have proved to be a hindrance to passing the legislation.