Government Affairs Roundup
“Your Timely Roundup of Local, State, and Federal Updates”

Chamber members:

In preparation for today’s roundup email, going forward, and even for recap purposes, here is a guide (cheat sheet) to Congressional fiscal terms.

Are you confused about what’s happening on Capitol Hill? Can’t distinguish reconciliation from a bipartisan deal? Can’t tell a BIF from a BBB? Wouldn’t know a debt ceiling if you bumped your head on it?

Congressional leaders are attempting to pass multiple pieces of fiscal legislation this fall to implement President Biden’s agenda while also trying to prevent a government debt default and a shutdown of federal operations.

The terminology can get confusing, especially when it mixes political branding and congressional procedures. Here’s a glossary of some of the relevant terms, so you can try to make sense of it all.

Sometimes called simply the “infrastructure plan” or the “infrastructure bill,” this stands for Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, and it refers to the deal struck between Democrats and some Republicans in the Senate. The Senate passed it in August with all 50 Democratic votes and 19 Republicans. It’s currently awaiting a vote in the House.

The compromise legislation includes about $1 trillion for rural broadband, public transit, roads, bridges, ports, electric vehicle charging stations, and pollution cleanup. The bill doesn’t include tax increases. The fate of the BIF in the House remains uncertain. Considered on its own, House Democrats would support the BIF, but many progressives want to wait until the other, more partisan part of Mr. Biden’s agenda (see reconciliation below) advances. They are separate pieces of legislation but they are linked politically.

Build Back Better
First it was a Biden campaign slogan, then it became the catch-all term that the administration and Democratic leaders have used to describe their various plans for addressing climate change, healthcare, immigration, the tax code, education, and child and elder care.

The term is meant to evoke the notion that restoring the pre-pandemic “normal” isn’t good enough and that fundamental aspects of the economy need to be reimagined going forward. Often, “build back better” is used to describe a large bill with a wide array of policies that Democrats hope to pass on a party-line vote, separate from the bipartisan infrastructure bill. That bill is also referred to by the congressional procedure Democrats are using to try to pass it, known as reconciliation.

This term technically refers to a congressional budget procedure, but it has also become shorthand for the Democrats’ proposed $3.5 trillion education, healthcare, childcare and climate plan that they hope to pass through that process.

The budgetary procedure allows some legislation to pass with a simple majority in the Senate. That bypasses the threat of a filibuster, which would require 60 votes to overcome and let Republicans block Democratic initiatives. Republicans used reconciliation to pass their 2017 tax law and Democrats used it in 2010 to finish the healthcare law.

But the reconciliation process has strict rules, ruling out lots of policy changes that aren’t budgetary in nature. For example, sweeping changes to immigration law or election rules aren’t going to advance through reconciliation. Democrats are trying to pass the rest of Biden’s economic agenda—the parts not included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill—through this procedure. That includes tax increases on corporations and high-income individuals, along with an extension of the expanded child tax credit, climate initiatives and expanded Medicare coverage. No Republicans are expected to vote for this.

Byrd Rule
The Byrd Rule— named for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.)— limits what can be included in reconciliation bills. It keeps nonfiscal measures out of the bill and requires that the bill not increase long-term budget deficits. The Senate parliamentarian offers advice to lawmakers on what proposals comply with the Byrd rule.

$3.5 Trillion: This is the number most commonly cited as the overall price tag for the reconciliation bill that contains all the spending measures and taxes mentioned above. It was roughly agreed to by many House and Senate Democrats when they voted to begin the reconciliation process. But the final package, if there is one, won’t end up being that large, since centrist Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) have ruled out spending that much. The $3.5 trillion figure refers to the amount over the next 10 years, not a single year. It includes spending as well as tax cuts such as the expanded child tax credit and tax breaks for renewable energy.

The $3.5 trillion is a gross figure, not a net number. That means it doesn’t account for how much of the legislation is paid for by taxes. Democrats have vowed to offset all or at least most of the package with new revenue measures. A $3.5 trillion increase in federal spending over a decade would mark a 5.5% increase over what is currently planned. It’s about 1.2% of projected gross domestic product over that period.

“Paid For”
Some Democrats have vowed to only support a package that is “fully paid for.” That would mean that the projected revenue from the tax measures would match the total projected spending. This is why President Biden has described the cost of the reconciliation bill as zero, though obviously a paid-for bill would add costs for the federal government and add costs for people paying higher taxes.

Sometimes these projections and claims get a little creative, and don’t ultimately satisfy every bean-counter. For instance, senators negotiating the bipartisan infrastructure deal said that the legislation was fully paid for, but the Congressional Budget Office disagreed and said there was a gap of around $250 billion. But it still passed the Senate.

This is a continuing resolution, and it’s totally separate from the BIF and the reconciliation bill. A continuing resolution keeps the government funded at existing levels for a set amount of time, for basic operations that require annual funding. It doesn’t directly affect benefit programs such as Medicare and Social Security that don’t require annual appropriations.

This is usually used as a stopgap measure when a full-year deal can’t be reached, but in recent years the government has often been funded for long stretches by regularly renewing existing funding levels. Passing a “CR” prevents the government from shutting down while lawmakers work on more durable legislation. Lawmakers passed one just before the federal fiscal year ended on Sept. 30 and will likely consider another later this fall or pass a full-year spending bill.

Debt Ceiling
Congress has set a total cap on federal borrowing, then has periodically raised or suspended it. Unless the debt ceiling is raised by about Oct. 18, the Treasury Department will run out of cash to meet all its obligations, which means some federal workers, contractors and bondholders may not get paid on time. Because U.S. government borrowing is such an important part of the world economy, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that failure to raise the limit could risk economic calamity.

The need to raise the limit stems largely from past decisions that Congress has made to spend more money than it raises in taxes. Democrats tried to package debt-ceiling legislation with the CR but Republicans blocked that. The legislative path to raising the debt limit remains uncertain.

*Government Affairs Roundup brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital*

What Exactly Happened with the Infrastructure Vote
“The fact that the president came to the Hill and whipped against his own bill is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.” That late-night observation was just one of many that was heard from frustrated lawmakers and senior aides stunned by what happened in the House on Friday.

What senior Dems thought was going to happen: President Biden was coming to the Hill to support Speaker Pelosi’s efforts to rally the party behind his historic $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan ahead of a Friday vote. What ended up happening instead: Biden told them he wanted to hold off on BIF until there was a reconciliation deal — even if that means delaying the vote for several more days or even weeks.

Biden’s move put Pelosi in a tough spot. She’d promised House moderates a vote on BIF this week, but the president himself blew up that timeframe — essentially forcing Pelosi to choose between breaking her promise and defying her president. BUT HERE’S WHERE THINGS GET REALLY INTERESTING: Some progressive Democrats suggested to their colleagues that the White House — at its most senior levels — gave them a green light to tank the BIF vote if Pelosi went ahead with it.

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent reports that when Sens. Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Manchin (D-W.Va.) walked away from negotiations late Thursday night without a deal on reconciliation, a “White House adviser” called up Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) to tell her about the lack of an accord. And “the White House adviser exerted no pressure on Jayapal to get progressives to vote for” the core infrastructure bill that Pelosi had been planning to hold a vote on. (She ended up nixing the roll call because she didn’t have the votes.)

Other reports were that White House chief of staff Ron Klain spoke personally with Jayapal, according to multiple sources — though the White House says this conversation happened earlier in the day on Thursday. Jayapal’s office refused to comment on her conversations with the White House. The N.Y. Times also reports that Klain has emboldened progressive opposition in calls where he “has been blunt about the president’s belief that Democrats need to reach a framework agreement on broader social policy legislation before they can approve the infrastructure measure.”

The White House pushed back on suggestions that they muscled support against their own bill. A White House official said Klain told progressives to “hang tight” — not “hold firm” — for more details on logistics.

“The suggestion that Ron Klain or anyone from the White House was arguing against members supporting or voting for the President’s agenda doesn’t even make sense and is categorically false,” press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “At every point in the process our focus has been on keeping members and their teams updated on our efforts to unite the caucus on a path forward as we work toward a successful vote on both pieces of legislation.”

So what is actually happening here? Progressives are pushing the idea that their threat to bring down BIF was sanctioned by the White House. The White House was — and still is — happy to use the intraparty tensions caused by the progressive strategy to help extract a deal from Sinema and Manchin, but Biden’s aides are very careful to say they never crossed the line and actively whipped against their own bill, which would have been a serious betrayal of Pelosi.

WHY ALL OF THIS MATTERS: In public, the explanation from Biden and party leaders is that a delayed BIF vote gives them time to strike a deal with moderates. But in private, the divisions within the party are no longer merely ideological or procedural; there is a deeper distrust — even at the most senior levels — that will make striking a deal all the more difficult.

To boil down what is happening into a simple “progressives vs. moderates” dynamic ignores larger escalating tensions — between Democratic leaders on the Hill and in the White House; between the Senate and the House; between rank-and-file Democrats and their president.

Some senior Democrats feel like the White House strategy right now is self-defeating, and that if Biden didn’t want to vote on BIF absent a deal with Manchin & Sinema, he should have said so days ago.

“[Democratic leaders are] trying to keep everyone together, but the White House has really, significantly contributed to some of the problems,” one senior House Democrat who backs both bills and isn’t in either the moderate or progressive camp told us.

Pelosi sets end-of-October deadline for infrastructure vote
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Saturday set a new deadline of Oct. 31 for the House to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter released on Saturday, Pelosi said that “more time was needed” to pass the infrastructure bill along with the larger, $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package after scrambling over the past two days to get enough votes.

The Speaker said she wants to pass the bipartisan bill by Oct. 31, when the 30-day reauthorization of federal highway programs expires. The House passed the extension Friday night amid the Democratic infighting over infrastructure.

“There is an October 31st Surface Transportation Authorization deadline, after last night’s passage of a critical 30-day extension,” Pelosi wrote. “We must pass BIF [bipartisan infrastructure framework] well before then – the sooner the better, to get the jobs out there.”

In her letter, Pelosi acknowledged the “two dynamics” that clashed in the past few days, adding that “out of respect for our colleagues who support the bills and out of recognition for the need for both, I would not bring BIF to the Floor to fail.”  “Again, we will and must pass both bills soon. We have the responsibility and the opportunity to do so.  People are waiting and want results,” the Speaker wrote.

Manchin opens door to deal in range of $1.9T to $2.2T
Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Tuesday signaled he is open to a budget reconciliation bill in the ballpark of $1.9 trillion to $2.2 trillion, above the limit he set just last week of $1.5 trillion.

Manchin and his fellow moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are still far apart from liberals such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who thought the upper chamber had a deal to spend $3.5 trillion on President Biden’s human infrastructure package, but the two sides are inching closer. “I’m not ruling anything out, but the bottom line is I want to make sure that we’re strategic and we do the right job and we don’t basically add more to the concerns we have right now,” Manchin told reporters Tuesday.

It was a small departure from his position last week when he announced: “My top-line has been $1.5 [trillion].” He also told reporters last week that he doesn’t want “to change our whole society to an entitlement mentality.”

Manchin’s comments last week sparked a backlash from progressives, though his Democratic Senate colleagues have been careful not to criticize him for fear of angering a key vote. But while Manchin has signaled some flexibility on the top-line number, there are a number of significant disagreements still to resolve with fellow Democrats.

One major sticking point is his insistence that the reconciliation bill include the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits using federal funds for abortion expenses. Warren has criticized the Hyde Amendment as disproportionately affecting low-income women since it prohibits Medicaid from funding abortion.

Another major difference is Manchin’s insistence that natural gas be eligible for grants under the $150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program, a core component of the reconciliation bill’s attempt to combat climate change. Environmentalists and congressional Democrats have slammed electricity production from natural gas without the use of carbon-capture technology as wholly unproductive to the goal of stopping global warming.

Manchin has also balked at a carbon tax, an idea being pushed hard by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and other Democrats. The West Virginia senator is worried it could be used to eliminate jobs in the coal industry, which historically has been a major employer in his state.

Latest on Debt Ceiling Vote
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer set up a vote by Wednesday on increasing the federal government’s borrowing ceiling, but didn’t lay out how Democrats planned to pass a bill without Republican votes, report Kristina Peterson and Alex Leary. Republicans have already telegraphed that they would block the bill.

Republicans have blocked efforts to increase the debt limit on a bipartisan basis, saying Democrats should supply the votes on their own, given their decision to pass spending bills without GOP support.

Democratic leaders have said trying to address the debt limit through a process tied to the budget known as reconciliation would be risky and time-consuming. However, it remains an option. Senator Schumer warned earlier Monday that lawmakers must act by the end of the week to avoid any repercussions. “Let me be clear about the task ahead of us: we must get a bill to the president’s desk dealing with the debt limit by the end of the week. Period,” Mr. Schumer (D., N.Y.) wrote in a letter to his Democratic colleagues.

McConnell ‘respectfully’ tells Biden it’s time for Democrats to raise debt ceiling
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is urging President Biden to lean on Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to get Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own.

“I respectfully submit that it is time for you to engage directly with congressional Democrats on this matter,” McConnell said of the debt ceiling in a letter to Biden. “Your lieutenants in Congress must understand that you do not want your unified Democratic government to sleepwalk toward an avoidable catastrophe when they have had nearly three months’ notice to do their job,” McConnell wrote.

“Republicans’ position is simple. We have no list of demands. For two and a half months, we have simply warned that since your party wishes to govern alone, it must handle the debt limit alone as well,” McConnell added.

McConnell’s letter to Biden comes shortly before the president gives a speech on the need to raise the debt ceiling. Congress has until Oct. 18, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, to act or risk a historic default.

Eviction Moratorium Expiration
The state’s eviction moratorium expired Sunday, and what comes next for renters will likely depend on their county of residence, as county courts and sheriffs will all have different approaches to executing evictions.

The original eviction moratorium was issued in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began shutting down the state and national economy, and it has been amended several times in the months following. The most recent iteration prevented law enforcement officials from carrying out evictions on “covered persons,” while a coinciding state Supreme Court order prevented certain trials and final judgements on eviction cases. Both will expire Sunday.

Bob Palmer, policy director at Housing Action Illinois, said that he’s hopeful there won’t be a crush of evictions to happen on the day the moratorium expires, because the Supreme Court’s order has slowed the process of eviction cases moving through the courts.

Susan Simone, director of litigation and advocacy at Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, said during a phone call her organization has “already started to see a huge upswing in cases being filed.” Land of Lincoln Legal Aid provides services such as legal advice and court representation free of charge to low-income individuals in central and southern Illinois. More information is available at or by calling 877-342-7891.

“I ran some numbers earlier in September and we saw a 40 percent increase in housing calls from pre-COVID to 2021,” Simone said. “In August, we had 45 to 60 calls per week which was up from 25 to 35 in the weeks before.” Simone said the organization had 405 open cases at the beginning of September, and that had increased to 480 open cases as of Friday.

Landlord groups have said the stay on eviction processes has stressed landlords, particularly those with smaller footprints. The Chicago-based Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance, an alliance of several smaller neighborhood building owners’ associations in the area, said in a news release eviction proceedings are a necessary tool for landlords, even if they don’t always lead to an eviction.

“Just because we can begin the eviction process doesn’t mean that we want to,” Michael Glasser, president of NBOA, said in a statement. “Our housing providers don’t want to go through the long and painful legal process of eviction, especially when they have the opportunity to receive rental assistance.”

Gov. JB Pritzker’s office said it has released $443 million in legal aid Illinois has received from the federal government. There’s $61 million still to be distributed, and another $60 million is available through a court-based rental assistance program which is meant to serve as a “safety net” for those who may be eligible for rent assistance but otherwise have not applied. Landlords must include information on the program in court filings, and more information can be found at

The state has received more than 99,000 applications for rental aid and approved about 49,100 of them, according to the governor’s office. IHDA is reaching out to applicants who had incomplete or incorrectly filed applications, and applicants can check their status at The NBOA noted that in Cook County, the eviction process can take months, and it offers many opportunities to settle. It’s the same in virtually every county, Palmer said.

Assistance may also still be available in certain areas through the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the two state agencies overseeing disbursement of federal funding, at The IHDA call center can be reached at 866-454-3571.

Will Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund be Addressed?
The deficit in the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund remains over $4.3 billion and interest payments on the debt began accruing on Sept. 6. Thus far, more than $6 million in interest has accrued on the money Illinois owes the federal government, according to the U.S. Treasury, and interest will continue to accrue at a rate of 2.27 percent. The state earmarked $10 million for interest payments this fiscal year.

Less than three weeks ahead of the fall veto session scheduled for Oct. 19-21 and Oct. 26-28. – the final six days of legislative action scheduled for calendar year 2021 – lawmakers have still not devised a plan for paying down the federal debt.

The ongoing interest accrual is one of two time-sensitive factors in addressing the deficit in the trust fund, which is the pool of money that is paid into by employers to fund unemployment benefits. The second is that Illinois law has “speed bumps” written into it that would increase employer tax burdens and decrease claimant benefits beginning next year.

Rep. Jay Hoffman, a Swansea Democrat and one of the lead negotiators on unemployment issues in the House, said there’s no wider agreement between stakeholders for a veto session policy solution. But one option is putting off the effective date of the speed bumps until sometime in the future. While that would give lawmakers more time to understand the scope of the problem, it would also mean interest would continue to accrue at a rate of tens of millions of dollars annually.

Gov. Pritzker Signs Executive Order Eliminating the Subminimum Wage in State Contracting for People with Disabilities
Working to increase inclusion and decrease barriers faced by people with disabilities, Governor JB Pritzker signed an executive order to ensure people with disabilities receive equal pay for work they perform as employees of state vendors.

“Illinois is leading by example by ensuring people with disabilities are not paid a subminimum wage,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “With this executive order my administration is affirming that people with disabilities are valued members of our workforce who deserve the dignity of equal pay.”

Coming during Disability Employment Awareness month, this EO will prevent state agencies from entering contracts with vendors in the State Use Program who pay people with disabilities a subminimum wage. In addition, the EO requires state agencies who currently have contracts with vendors who pay people with disabilities a subminimum wage to re-negotiate those contracts to ensure everyone is paid at least the minimum wage.

“We know that justice is about more than prisons and courts. It’s about equitable access to opportunities in the workplace and equal pay,” said Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. “Workers with disabilities earn 87 cents for every dollar earned by those without disabilities. This EO prevents this harmful practice by ensuring people with disabilities are valued and compensated for their work like anyone else. Illinois continues to lead in efforts to make our country more equitable for all and closing wage gaps that impede progress.”

“We commend Governor Pritzker for taking this important step to eliminate the use of State contracts that pay Illinoisans with disabilities a sub-minimum wage,” said Karen Tamley, President and CEO of Access Living, a leading disability rights and service organization in Chicago. “We hope that organizations who continue to operate outdated and un-just sub-minimum wage employment programs will follow Governor Pritzker’s lead and ensure all disabled people across our state earn a fair wage for their work.”

“Equip for Equality applauds Governor Pritzker for taking this important action,” said Barry Taylor, Vice President for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation at Equip for Equality. “For far too long, many companies have benefitted from state contracts, but paid their workers sub-minimum wage. Today’s Executive Order will correct that injustice and is a critical step to making the promise of Employment First a reality in Illinois, so that people with disabilities can engage in competitive and integrated employment.”

Through the State Use program, Illinois encourages all agencies to purchase products and services produced and provided by people with disabilities. The program is intended to provide long-term employment opportunities for people with disabilities through non-profit agencies who contract with state agencies.

Redistricting of Illinois Congressional Districts and Judicial Subcircuits
On August 12, 2021, the United States Census Bureau released the 2020 Census Public Law 94-
171 population data to the States, including Illinois.  According to the 2020 Census, Illinois has
been apportioned 17 Congressional Districts. The General Assembly is tasked with redistricting
congressional districts and pursuant to Public Act 101-0477, current judicial subcircuits.
The Senate Redistricting Committee will hold a series of public hearings to gather input and
recommendations for potential adjustments to the legislative boundaries. The following hearings
have been scheduled to date:

 Friday, October 8 at 10 am – Senate Hearing (in-person and virtual) at Oakton
Community College, Room 1608/1610, 1600 Golf Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016
o Subject Matter: 2020 Census; the redistricting of Illinois Congressional
Districts; and the redistricting of judicial subcircuits in Cook County

 Tuesday, October 12 at 2 pm. – Senate Hearing (in-person and virtual) at Chicago
State University, 4th Floor Board Room, Gwendolyn Brooks Library, 9501 South King
Dr., Chicago, IL 60628
o Subject Matter: 2020 Census; the redistricting of Illinois Congressional
Districts; and the redistricting of judicial subcircuits in Cook County

 Wednesday, October 13 at 4 pm – Senate Hearing (Virtual Hearing – participants may
testify at the hearing location or via Zoom) at Elgin Area Community College, Seigle
Auditorium in Building E, 1700 Spartan Dr, Elgin, IL 60123
o Subject Matter: 2020 Census; the redistricting of Illinois Congressional
Districts, the redistricting current judicial subcircuits in Kane, Lake, McHenry
Boone, Winnebago, and Will Counties; and the potential creation of judicial
subcircuits in counties with populations under 150,000

 Thursday, October 14 at Noon – Senate Hearing (Virtual Hearing – participants may
testify at the hearing location or via Zoom) in Illinois State Capitol in Room 409,
Springfield, IL
o Subject Matter: 2020 Census; the redistricting of Illinois Congressional
Districts; and the potential creation of judicial subcircuits in counties with
populations under 150,000

 Friday, October 15 at 2 pm – Senate Hearing (Virtual Hearing – participants may
testify at the hearing location or via Zoom) in the Dunn Richmond Economic Center
Conference Room 241 at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1740 Innovation
Drive Carbondale, IL 62903
o Subject Matter: 2020 Census; the redistricting of Illinois Congressional
Districts; and the potential creation of judicial subcircuits in counties with
populations under 150,000

We invite you to submit any redistricting plans, testimony, and hearing witnesses you wish to
have considered. If you have any testimony you would like to present at a hearing, please let us
know at which hearing you or your designated witness would like to testify and how much time
will be needed. If you are interested in submitting a map for consideration, please feel free to
use the redistricting portal at or to
submit maps via email to the Senate Redistricting Committee at
Stay well,

Mike Paone
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
815.727.5371 main
815.727.5373 direct