Joe Biden has canceled a trip to Chicago as his incredibly expensive and damaging legislative agenda hangs in the balance due to a Democrat civil war between moderates and progressives.
Also, the Senate may vote today on funding the government through December without raising the debt ceiling, thanks to Republicans who refused to budge on helping Democrats raise the debt ceiling to try and thwart their massive spending bills.
Here’s a good piece by the Daily Mail explaining where everything stands at this point.
First up, the looming government shutdown:
The Senate could vote Wednesday on a temporary measure to fund the government without language to raise the debt ceiling – a victory for Republicans who demanded that condition in exchange for adverting a government shutdown.
The legislation would temporarily fund the government through Dec. 3 and would include $6.3 billion to help Afghan refugees and $28.6 billion in natural disaster relief.
If it passes the Senate, it would go to the House, where it would be expected to pass.
Government funding runs out Friday at midnight.
Republican senators, led by GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, have been firm in their resistance to pairing funding the government with raising the nation’s borrowing limit, leaving Democrats with little other options than to remove that provision.
Once the government is funded, that would free up Democratic leadership – President Joe Biden, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi – to focus on raising the debt ceiling and passing the two pieces of Biden’s economic agenda: the $1.1 trillion infrastructure plan and the $3.5 trillion budget package.
Biden canceled a planned trip to Chicago on Wednesday to deal with his legislative agenda, which is being threatened by an intra-party war between progressives and moderates.
McConnell blocked Schumer from trying to raise the debt ceiling yesterday via unanimous consent. Schumer had dared Republicans to object, but that didn’t stop McConnell from objecting after telling Schumer that Republicans would not help him raise the debt ceiling just so they could pass their massive spending bills.
Next up, Biden’s so-called trillion dollar infrastructure bill:
Pelosi postponed a vote on Biden’s $1.1 trillion infrastructure package until Thursday as Democrats work to shore up support among moderates for Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget filled with social programs.
She also announced she would not tie passing the $3.5 trillion bill to passing the infrastructure package – a blow to the progressive wing of the party.
Liberal Democrats in the House threatened not to vote for the infrastructure bill until the Senate passed the social programs. But moderate Democrats in that chamber are unhappy with the $3.5 trillion price tag and are withholding their votes.
Meanwhile, Senator Bernie Sanders threw gasoline on the fire on Tuesday when he urged House progressives to stand firm and refuse to vote for the infrastructure bill until they get reassurance from moderate Senate Democrats.
‘Let’s be crystal clear. If the bipartisan infrastructure bill is passed on its own on Thursday, this will be in violation of an agreement that was reached within the Democratic Caucus in Congress,’ Sanders said in a series of tweets.
‘More importantly, it will end all leverage that we have to pass a major reconciliation bill. That means there will be no serious effort to address the long-neglected crises facing the working families of our country, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor.’
Pelosi had told progressives she would not bring up infrastructure without the guarantee on the budget bill but she walked back on that promise Monday night.
Liberals are furious – and withholding their votes.
Progressive leaders on Tuesday said a majority of their 100-member caucus will tank Thursday’s infrastructure vote without the commitment on the social programs. Pelosi only has a four seat majority in the House. It has no Republican support.
This is fantastic. Pelosi can’t make one side happy without pissing off the other side, with both threatening to withhold their votes unless they get their way.
That’s just the fight in the House.
Last up is the 3.5 trillion dollar ‘social programs’ bill, which also hangs in the balance because Manchin and Sinema refuse to vote for such massive spending, dooming the reconciliation process. This is why Biden canceled his trip so he could continue to try and twist their arms:
Biden held meetings with moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema at the White House on Tuesday as he tries to get a commitment on his $3.5 trillion budget of social programs, including free pre-K and programs to combat climate change.
Sinema is expected back at the White House Wednesday for her fourth visit in two days.
Both senators have objected to the high price tag and, in the 50-50 Senate, Democrats need every member of their party’s vote.
However, the two moderates won’t publicly name a price they will support.
‘There were no commitments made at all, no commitments from my standpoint, just good negotiations talking about the needs of the country,’ Manchin said.
As far as a topline spending number, he said: ‘We haven’t talked about it, no. Just talking about the need. I’m looking at the needs of the country.’
Lawmakers are hoping Biden can get a verbal commitment from the two senators by Thursday, freeing up progressives to vote for his infrastructure bill.
Sinema, however, is reported to not want to name a topline number until the bipartisan infrastructure package clears the House.
Pelosi put the onus on the president.
‘Negotiations are being led by President Biden to advance his vision,’ she told her Democratic lawmakers in a letter on Tuesday.
Manchin said his meeting with Biden was ‘good, honest, straightforward negotiations’ but no commitments were made.
He said he met with Biden for over an hour.
Sinema refused to tell reporters on Capitol Hill what she spoke about with Biden.
Both Sinema and Manchin have shown incredible resolve against Biden’s 3.5 trillion dollar bill and both of their votes are needed in order to pass anything via reconciliation in a 50-50 Senate. And if the reports are true, Sinema won’t even name a price tag she’d vote for until the trillion dollar ‘infrastructure’ bill passes the House, which is stuck right now in a huge progressive/moderate civil war.
I never dreamed that we could have gridlock like this in the House with Democrats controlling the majority. I just hope it persists and Biden’s legislative agenda fails miserably. That looks like where it’s headed, but it ain’t over yet.