A test of Biden’s agenda is imminent after he signs a law to avert government shutdown
WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden‘s agenda underwent important Democratic scrutiny Thursday as the House of Representatives prepared a vote on a $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill that threatened to block the progressives unless there is also a major social spending plan agreement.
Congress battled Washington back on Thursday from the abyss of government shutdown by voting to continue funding the government through December 3. Biden signed the measure before funding was due to run out at midnight.
âThere is so much more to do. But the passage of this bill is a reminder that bipartisan work is possible and it gives us time to allocate longer-term resources to keep our government running and delivering for the American people, “Biden said in a statement.
The House of Representatives approved the move in a bipartisan 254-175 vote, hours after it passed the Senate at 65:35.
After that hurdle was overcome, Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to put together a vote on an infrastructure plan that the Senate has already passed with bipartisan support.
The two spoke about the situation by phone on Thursday afternoon, said a source familiar with the call.
The negotiations dragged on into the evening. In a statement to her Democratic counterparts, Pelosi called it a “productive and decisive day” and said discussions would continue.
Some progressive Democrats have vowed to vote against the bill to invest in the country’s roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, and are angry that the Democrats have not yet reached an agreement on a billions of dollars accompanying bill with social funding Services and to combat climate change.
Pelosi confirmed that the House of Representatives would still vote on the infrastructure law on Thursday.
When reporters asked House No. 2 Democrat Steny Hoyer if he was confident the law would pass in a vote on Thursday, he had a one-word answer: “No.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a leading moderate Democrat, couldn’t say when the House would vote on the infrastructure bill, but told reporters, “We’ll get the votes. We’ll bring this home.”
With the chances of getting their $ 3.5 trillion social spending proposal passed, Biden and his staff are trying to figure out which narrower proposal could unite an ideologically broken Democratic faction of lawmakers, according to those familiar with the matter . Continue reading
MPs on the party’s left have announced that they will not vote for the Infrastructure Bill unless they are sure that their priorities are reflected in the Social Expenditure Bill.
Democratic MP Ilhan Omar, a leader of the Progressives in the House of Representatives, told reporters: âNothing has changed with our group members. We don’t have the votes to adopt the infrastructure. “
Senator Joe Manchin, a key Democratic moderate with the power to block laws in the Senate, said Thursday that the larger bill should cost no more than $ 1.5 trillion – far less than the price Biden quoted of 3, $ 5 trillion.
Another moderate Democrat, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, declined to say whether she agreed with Manchin’s proposal. She met with Biden several times to discuss the bill.
With wafer-thin majorities in Congress, the Democrats cannot afford to lose many votes if they want to push their agenda through. They are unlikely to get much support from Republicans in the House of Representatives looking to recapture a majority in the 2022 congressional election.
The Senate-approved stopgap bill also provides aid to communities hit by hurricanes, forest fires and other natural disasters. Money for Afghan refugees is also included.
DEBT TOPIC THREAT
In yet another high stakes battle, Democrats and Republicans continued to argue in Congress to give the Treasury Department additional lending powers beyond the current legal limit of $ 28.4 trillion. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said there could be a historic US default around October 18 if Congress fails to act.
Republicans don’t want any part of raising the debt ceiling, saying it’s the Democrats’ problem as they control Congress and the White House. The Democrats point out that about $ 5 trillion of national debt is the result of tax cuts and spending decided upon during the presidency of Republican Donald Trump.
The House of Representatives approved a bill late Wednesday suspending the debt ceiling until December 2022. Senate could vote “as early as next week,” said Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, but Republicans are likely to block again.
Yellen said Thursday it would be a “disaster” if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling. Read More
The looming debt crisis is rocking Americans on both sides of the political spectrum, according to a national Ipsos poll for Reuters on Tuesday and Wednesday.
It found that 65% of adults, including eight in ten Democrats and five in ten Republicans, are âveryâ or âsomewhatâ concerned that Congress is not getting a debt deal on time.
The poll also found that 30% think Republicans in Congress deserve the most blame if the government closes, while 21% would blame Democrats in Congress and 16% would blame Biden.
Reporting by David Morgan, Susan Cornwell, and Richard Cowan; Additional coverage from Jarrett Renshaw, Chris Kahn, and Trevor Hunnicutt; Writing by Andy Sullivan and Steve Holland; Editing by Scott Malone, Cynthia Osterman, Peter Cooney, and Gerry Doyle
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