On The Money — Build Back Better takes a 'Byrd Bath'

Happy Monday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Today’s Big Deal: Democrats are racing to pass President BidenJoe BidenNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Clyburn predicts Supreme Court contender J. Michelle Childs would get GOP votes Overnight Defense & National Security — US delivers written response to Russia MORE’s social services and climate bill by Christmas. We’ll also look at a potential path out of a debt ceiling crisis.

But first, if you stole Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyOver 80 lawmakers urge Biden to release memo outlining his authority on student debt cancellation Jonathan Van Ness talks to Pressley about authenticity in new Netflix show Democrats call on CDC to release demographic breakdowns for long-term COVID-19 patients MORE’s (D-Mass) Mariah Carey Christmas album, you’re in deep trouble.


For The Hill, I’m Sylvan Lane. Write me at slane@thehill.com or @SylvanLane. You can reach my colleagues on the Finance team Naomi Jagoda at njagoda@thehill.com or @NJagoda and Aris Folley at afolley@thehill.com or @ArisFolley.

Let’s get to it.

Democrats ramp up talks with parliamentarian  

Senate Democrats are ramping up talks with the parliamentarian as they try to hit an ambitious goal of passing President Biden's climate and social spending bill before Christmas.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), in a "Dear Colleague" letter to Senate Democrats released Monday, detailed meetings that committees and Democratic staff have had or will have with parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, who provides guidance on whether a proposal complies with rules on what can be passed under budget reconciliation, the process Democrats are seeking to use to pass their massive spending bill.  

  • The roughly $2 trillion spending bill has to go through a so-called "Byrd bath," during which MacDonough weighs in whether the bill complies with the Byrd rule, which lays out restrictions for what can be passed under the budget rules. 
  • Among those rules is that a proposal has to have an impact on federal spending and revenues and that its impact isn’t “merely incidental” to its non-budgetary goals. 

The upshot: Schumer didn't specify in his letter when he would bring the spending bill to the floor, but reiterated that it is Democrats’ goal to pass the spending bill by Christmas. But there’s also growing skepticism that Democrats will be able to hit their self-imposed goal as negotiations continue among their own ranks. Jordain Carney explains here.



Hoyer says Dec. 15 is drop-dead deadline to hike debt ceiling

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBiden talks climate and child care provisions of Build Back Better agenda with top CEOs The Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Russia attack 'would change the world' Senate Democrats urge Biden to get beefed-up child tax credit into spending deal MORE (D-Md.) argued Monday that Congress must raise the debt ceiling by mid-month or risk an economy-gutting government default.

"I'm hopeful that we will get that done before — significantly before — the 15th," he added. "But the 15th, I think, is the date that I am using as the last possible day that we could act — whether or not that is the actual case, because we don't know the revenue flow at any given day."

How the Democrats intend to move the debt-limit hike is another open question:

  • Hoyer said party leaders have not yet denied if they'll move it as a standalone measure, or try to attach it to a defense spending bill, which is among the last must-pass proposals left for Congress to consider before the long December recess.

But Senate leadership is facing bipartisan pushback from the House to that plan.


Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion Florida Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick sworn in as newest House member GOP lawmaker adheres to term limit pledge, won't run for reelection MORE (R-Calif.), a key Donald TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Kemp leading Perdue in Georgia gubernatorial primary: poll US ranked 27th least corrupt country in the world MORE ally who was poised to be the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee if Republicans win back the House in 2022, said Monday he will resign at the end of this month to become CEO of Trump’s new media and technology company. 

“Recently, I was presented with a new opportunity to fight for the most important issues I believe in. I’m writing to let you know I’ve decided to pursue this opportunity, and therefore I will be leaving the House of Representatives at the end of 2021. …” Nunes told constituents. 

“Rest assured, I have not, by any means, given up our collective fight — I’ll just be pursuing it through other means.”

  • Nunes is slated to begin his new role in January as CEO of Trump Media & Technology Group or TMTG, which is billing itself as an alternative to Big Tech.
  • If he stayed in Congress, Nunes would have been in line to chair the Ways and Means Committee and run point on tax and healthcare policy in the House if the GOP recaptured the chamber in the upcoming midterm elections.

Read more: Regulators investigating financing of Trump's new media company

Good to Know 


The omicron variant poses a new threat to businesses that were already struggling to recover from the economic damage done by previous strains of the virus. 

Here’s what else have our eye on:

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.