Washington, DC – The Bipartisan Policy Center and BPC Action commend the Senate for passing the bipartisan fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill, which we expect the House to pass and President Biden to sign quickly. This bill includes many of BPC’s legislative priorities, such as Electoral Count Act reform, the Growing Climate Solutions Act, SECURE 2.0, the PREVENT Pandemics Act, and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, though we encourage the next Congress to return to the regular legislative process to address the most pressing issues facing our nation.
“This legislation strengthens American workers and families,” said Jason Grumet, BPC president. “I am gratified to see several of BPC’s policy priorities included in this bipartisan legislation. The omnibus invests in mental health, helps workers and families save for emergencies, prepares communities for future pandemics, supports farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners pursuing sustainable agriculture practices to mitigate climate change, and reforms the Electoral Count Act. This legislation is a fitting conclusion to a very productive and surprisingly bipartisan 117th Congress.”
“BPC and BPC Action have been hard at work for years on many of the provisions included in this omnibus bill. The substantial bipartisan wins in this Congress are a testament to leadership and many members working across the aisle, and this adds to that list of accomplishments. We encourage the next Congress to continue this bipartisan streak as they approach more of these issues critical to communities and individuals, from agriculture to affordable housing to competitiveness to substance abuse,” said Michele Stockwell, executive director of BPC Action and senior vice president of BPC.
BPC’s top legislative priorities included in the bill:
- SECURE 2.0, legislation to bolster Americans’ short- and long-term savings, builds on similar legislation passed in 2019. Among other important provisions, this legislation will remove outdated legal and regulatory barriers and establish guardrails and flexibility for employers seeking to automatically enroll employees into an emergency savings account within their existing retirement plan.
- Electoral Count Act reform will address vulnerabilities and ambiguities in the Electoral Count Act of 1887 ahead of the 2024 election. It will further clarify the specific roles and duties of Congress and the vice president in counting the Electoral College certificates—and ensures that Congress will receive and consider electoral votes that reflect the results of the election.
- The PREVENT Pandemics Act will ensure we implement lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to better prepare for future public health challenges. It strengthens federal and state preparedness; improves our response capacity through data systems modernization; accelerates research; and more.
- America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners can play a pivotal role in capturing carbon while creating another income stream for their operations. The bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act will make it easier for farmers, ranchers, and private forest owners to participate in carbon credit markets.
- According to a BPC poll, 1 in 5 mothers (20%) say they have experienced pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will guarantee pregnant women the right to reasonable workplace accommodations.
- Significant investments in behavioral and mental health that promote the integration of behavioral health and primary care; increase provider capacity; support mobile crisis response; and address substance use disorders.
- Crucial funding for key programs including clean energy innovation, child care support for families, state and local elections departments, small businesses, affordable housing, and congressionally directed spending for local community projects.
As comprehensive as this end-of-year package is, there is more work to be done in the next Congress. BPC stands ready to work with leaders on both sides of the aisle to advance a fiscally responsible, bipartisan agenda that will expand economic growth and address the challenges facing families. We look forward to building on this momentum in the 118th Congress.