WASHINGTON: Congress should fund the federal government within the subsequent 10 days, or threat a federal shutdown.
Raise the nations borrowing restrict, or default on its debt.
All this whereas lawmakers are laboring to shoulder President Joe Bidens huge $3.5 trillion construct again higher agenda via the House and Senate.
The magnitude of the challenges forward and the pace required to perform the job is like nothing Congress has confronted in latest reminiscence, situating Bidens whole home agenda and the political destiny of his Democratic social gathering at a vital second.
The Republicans have made it clear they won’t be serving to with nearly any of it. Instead, because the minority social gathering in Congress hoping to regain management within the subsequent election in 2022, Republicans plan to sit down again, watching and ready to see if Biden and his allies can succeed in opposition to the chances or spectacularly fail.
As Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., the chairman of the House Budget Committee, summed up Biden’s agenda Sunday, These will not be frivolous issues.
The subsequent a number of weeks may very well be very lengthy.
To begin, the House is poised to vote on funding to maintain the federal government working previous Sept. 30, the top of the fiscal yr and a built-in deadline that in latest instances has left lawmakers scrambling to avert a shutdown.
The package deal is predicted to maintain most spending at its present ranges on a stopgap foundation into fall, drawing bipartisan help. It may even seemingly embrace supplemental funds for the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and different pure disasters, in addition to cash to assist defray the evacuations from Afghanistan.
Where questions emerge is that if the must-pass authorities funding invoice additionally contains language to permit extra borrowing to cowl the nation’s debt funds. The Treasury Department warned that it’s going to quickly run out of cash-on-hand, and should depend on incoming receipts to pay its obligations, now at $28.4 trillion. That might pressure the Treasury Department to delay or miss funds, a devastating scenario.
“Doing so would seemingly precipitate a historic monetary disaster, wrote Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen within the Wall Street Journal.
Once a routine matter, lifting the debt ceiling has change into a political weapon of selection for Republicans ever for the reason that 2011 arrival of tea social gathering lawmakers who refused to carry it. At the time, they argued in opposition to extra spending and the standoff triggered a fiscal disaster.
Echoing that technique, Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell is staring down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., over the debt ceiling he’s refusing to vote to carry it and she or he is arguing it’s a joint duty of each events to pay for collected debt.
McConnell says he’s not about to assist repay money owed when Biden is about to pile on extra with a reckless” tax and spending package. McConnell says if Democrats want to pass the Biden package on their own, they should use that same process to raise the debt ceiling alone.
Backed by the White House, Pelosi counters that when McConnell was in control of the Senate he relied on Democratic votes to help raise the debt ceiling during the past administration and she expects the same from him now.
“The failure to raise the debt limit would, as Treasury Secretary Yellen recently stated have absolutely catastrophic economic consequences,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues late Sunday night.
“The debt restrict is a shared duty, and I urge Congress to come back collectively,” she said.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Democrats are negotiating among themselves over Biden’s big $3.5 trillion package as the price tag likely slips to win over skeptical centrist lawmakers who view it as too much.
The size and scope of Biden’s Build Back Better initiative cannot be overstated, very possibly the largest single undertaking ever considered in Congress, touching almost all aspects of Americans’ lives.
Biden’s plan aims to not just rebuild the country after the COVID-19 crisis and economic fallout, but begin to change longstanding federal spending patters in ways that provide more services to more Americans, and attempt to level the growing income inequality that permeates the economy.
The proposal would impose tax hikes on corporations and wealthy Americans earning beyond $400,000 a year and plow that money back into federal programs for young and old. It would increase and expand government health, education and family support programs for households, children and seniors, and boost environmental infrastructure programs to fight climate change.
One topic the bill may not cover is immigration, after the Senate parliamentarian advised that Biden’s proposal would not pass the chamber’s rules for consideration under the budget process.
With Republicans opposed lockstep to Biden’s sweeping vision, Democrats have no votes to spare. As Democrats try to rally support from their own ranks, they have only the most narrow control of Congress as the majority, with a 50-50 Senate and just a few vote margin in the House.
Pelosi and her leadership team are expected to huddle at the start of the week, and Senate Democrats are meeting as well, as they craft the details of the package ahead of a self-imposed deadlines.
By Sept. 27, Pelosi has promised a vote on a companion bill, a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill of public works projects that enjoys widespread support from both parties in the Senate, even though House Republicans mostly oppose it.
Even though that bipartisan bill should be an easy legislative lift, it too faces a political obstacle course ahead. Dozens of lawmakers in the Congressional Progressive Caucus are expected to vote against it if it comes ahead of the broader Biden package. But centrists won’t vote for the broader package unless they are assured the bipartisan bill will also be included.
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