When House returns, Democrats face tough choices over Biden’s mega-bill and infrastructure

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WASHINGTON – When the House returns on Monday, Democrats will face a series of tough decisions on how to prevent a government shutdown, avoid a catastrophic default and resolve deep divisions within their ranks over of President Joe Biden’s economic program.

Not long ago. Government funding expires Sept. 30, the Treasury Department said the debt ceiling would be exceeded in October without congressional action, and states need disaster relief.

Meanwhile, President Nancy Pelosi’s complicated set of promises to competing factions will face a major test. Pelosi, D-Calif., Promised centrists a September 27 deadline to vote on the infrastructure bill passed by the Senate. But she told progressives that would evolve alongside the multibillion-dollar Build Back Better measure.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said for months that dozens of House Democrats were prepared to vote against the infrastructure bill if the bill spends more money was not done.

This means that a cornerstone of Biden’s platform risks a humiliating defeat in the House if party leaders do not quickly resolve a large number of differences between Democrats over the price and policy of the larger bill, which includes priorities such as cash payments for children, expansion of medicare, community college grants, and tax increases on the wealthy.

A House Democratic aide said party leaders remained convinced progressives would maintain the line. Others doubt they are occupying a centerpiece of Biden’s agenda in an attempt to leverage a different bill.

“A Rubik’s cube on steroids”

Nine centrist Democrats led by Representative Josh Gottheimer, DN.J., issued a joint statement on Friday to rally support for the infrastructure bill and remind Pelosi of his promise of a vote by September 27. They said Congress “cannot afford to delay a single day.”

Majority House Whip James Clyburn, DS.C., told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that Democrats are working to “make sure we never get to this point “where the infrastructure bill could fail.

“We are working with everyone in all corners of our party,” he said. “They’re trying to find common ground on all of these issues. And I feel very comfortable that we’re going to get there.”

Clyburn said Democrats “should stop focusing on numbers and start looking at what needs to be done” with regard to the spending bill.

House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., Offered an original option: pass the infrastructure bill on September 27, but don’t send it to Biden’s office yet.

“The speaker doesn’t have to move the bill forward – if we pass it in the House – doesn’t have to send it to the President for signature. She can keep this bill for a period of time. Yarmuth said on Fox News Sunday. “So there is some flexibility in how we link the two mandates.”

After House committees finished work on the Build Back Better legislation last week, Biden held a call with Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., to discuss the way forward. to follow. Biden’s approval rating fell into net negative territory after a difficult end to summer as the delta variant of the coronavirus threw a wrench into the recovery of Covid-19.

And Senate Democrats say they will continue to try to include immigration provisions in the bill after suffering a setback on Sunday, when the Senate referee ruled them ineligible for the process.

Finance and Budget Committee member Senator Mark Warner, D-Va. Likened the challenge to “a Rubik’s cube on steroids.”

Avoid shutdown and fault

Besides Biden’s goals, Congress faces tight looming deadlines to keep government running.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Told colleagues the House will vote on a bill to maintain government funding this week. He said it will include additional aid for disaster relief after the recent storms and money to resettle allies displaced after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“The House will also take action to suspend the debt ceiling to ensure America pays its bills on time,” Hoyer said in a letter Friday, without specifying whether this would be a stand-alone measure.

Democrats have considered tying an extension of the debt limit to the government funding bill before the October deadline to continue paying US bills, but this is meeting broad Republican opposition, and it does so. could bring about a shutdown if the GOP minority, which has the power to block bills in the Senate, does not waver.

Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La., A member of the finance and mixed economy committees, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that Republicans did not intend “to help and encourage party line spending “by raising the debt ceiling. .

“If you want to come back and meet you where we can actually find common ground, where we can actually meet the needs, as opposed to a Democratic wish list, well, we’ll help you,” Cassidy said.

Experts believe that failure to raise the debt ceiling would be catastrophic for the US and global economies. It requires 10 Republican votes through the regular process. Democrats, who declined to include it in their party line bill, noted that they had agreed to help Republicans extend the debt ceiling after the partisan tax law of 2017, which worsened the deficit. They say the GOP should do the same now.

Also this week, Hoyer said the House would advance the Defense Authorization Bill and vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify abortion rights protections under Roe. . v. Get into the law.

“This legislation would enshrine access to reproductive health care for all women across America,” Hoyer said, adding that the House is forced to act due to the Supreme Court’s “inaction” to block Texas’ six-week abortion ban.

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