The House and Senate are in recess this week but a ruling by the Senate Parliamentarian on the use of another reconciliation measure is good news for President Biden’s infrastructure proposal and the ability of Senate Democrats to pass the proposal. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that the parliamentarian “has advised that a revised budget resolution may contain budget reconciliation instructions.” The ruling would allow Democrats to use the reconciliation process to move another bill with only majority support (51 votes). Although there are ongoing discussions surrounding the President’s infrastructure proposal, there is much skepticism on whether a bi-partisan proposal can be achieved. Although the reconciliation process is more constraining regarding matters that can be included a bill, the Parliamentarian’s ruling opens an additional pathway to passing an infrastructure proposal without support from Senate Republicans.
USDA released a report this week which analyzes how the coronavirus, and the resulting U.S. economic contraction, has led to increased food assistance to U.S. households. Overall, an average of $8.4 billion in combined SNAP and P-EBT benefits were redeemed per month during the 6-month period of April through September 2020—an increase of 86.4 percent compared to the same period in 2019. The value of benefits redeemed online also grew quickly, from $2.9 million in February 2020 to $196.3 million in September 2020. By September, online redemptions accounted for 2.4 percent of the total value.