Politics Democrats set up spending showdowns next week
Here's what is in House Democrats' multitrillion-dollar infrastructure and social spending package
House Democrats are fighting hard to pass a multitrillion-dollar reconciliation package full of new spending and tax measures. While the exact scope and funding of the bill are not yet finalized, here are highlights of what Democrats have laid out in legislation at the committee level this week: © Provided by Washington Examiner SPENDING MEASURES Workplace leave Democrats hope to create the country’s first federal leave program. They are proposing up to 12 weeks of universal paid family and medical leave to workers nationwide.
House and Senate Democrats are preparing for a string of spending showdowns that could blow up the Biden agenda and leave the party even more politically vulnerable ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
House Democratic leaders are hoping to overcome internal differences to pass a two-partthat would fund both infrastructure and a broad array of new social welfare programs.
The package is critical to the Biden administration and Democrats who desperately need a legislative win to counter the president’s sagging poll numbers.
Budget bill reopens moderate vs. progressive divide for Dems
WASHINGTON (AP) — One side is energized by the prospect of the greatest expansion of government support since the New Deal nearly a century ago. The other is fearful about dramatically expanding Washington's reach at an enormous cost. They're all Democrats. Yet each side is taking vastly different approaches to guiding the massive $3.5 trillion spending bill through Congress. The party is again confronting the competing political priorities between its progressive and moderate wings.
But an internal battle between centrists and liberals threatens to derail both bills indefinitely, even though Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would consider both measures next week.
Meanwhile, Democrats face another fiscal showdown across the Capitol.
House Democrats passed a measure to extend government funding beyond a Sept. 30 deadline and attached a provision to suspend the nation’s borrowing limit until December 2022.
No House Republicans voted for the bill, and the Senate GOP has vowed to block it when it comes up for a vote next week.
Republicans say they won’t back a debt limit increase now that Democrats are working to pass the $3.5 trillion social welfare spending package unilaterally, calling the legislation reckless and hurtful for the economy.
This week: Democrats face mounting headaches
Democrats are facing a growing number of headaches, including high-stakes standoffs with Republicans over the debt and feuding within their own party over President Biden's $3.5 trillion spending plan. Democrats are confronting two quickly approaching deadlines: The Sept. 30 cliff to prevent a government funding shutdown and House Democrats' self-imposed timeline for voting on the Senate-passed roughly $1 trillion infrastructure deal. Democrats are set to start to head off the first this week, as House Democrats return from a weeks-long summer break.
Senate Democrats can’t pass the package unless they win at least 10 GOP votes, so the bill is poised to fail just a few days ahead of the end of the fiscal year.
Without passing a stopgap spending bill by the end of September, the government would have to endure a partial shutdown.
At the same time, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress the government would start defaulting on loans in October without a debt ceiling increase.
House and Senate Republicans are watching from the sidelines, confident the public will not blame their party for the fiscal standoff and its consequences.
“The only people that will get any blame for this is the Democrats and their management,” Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, told reporters Thursday.
Democrats are weighing backup plans in the likely event Republicans block the debt ceiling and government funding package.
The redistricting wars
The battle lines for the next decade of US politics are about to be set.A seat in Tennessee here, seats in Ohio and Missouri there. Multiple seats, perhaps, in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia. There are more possibilities, and they add up. Draw lines on the map that flip enough Democratic districts to safe GOP ones (just five on net), and Democrats’ slim majority will likely be gone. If that happens, much of the battle for control of the House of Representatives in 2022 would be settled before it even began.
The measure also includes emergency spending for states damaged by summer storms and wildfires, as well as money for Afghan refugees resettling in the United States.
Senate Republicans introduced a bill that includes all of those provisions, including government funding. However, it excludes the debt ceiling.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said Democrats have the votes and the legislative authority to pass a debt limit increase without Republicans. He disputed claims by Democrats they lack time to take up the debt ceiling and pass it with only 51 votes in the Senate.
“If they want to tax, borrow, and spend historic sums of money without our input, they’ll have to raise the debt limit without our help,” McConnell said. “This is the reality. I’ve been saying this very clearly since July. And I think our Democratic colleagues are finally getting it. Because now they’re fumbling for bogus excuses.”
House Democratic leaders plan to focus next week on getting the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan to Biden’s desk.
Biden's economic agenda is in 'significant danger' of collapse. The worst-case scenario for the 2022 midterms is inching closer.
Biden needs results not just to transform the economy, but to have something to run on. "The party's future depends on getting this bill done."The stakes are massive: Democrats need to keep the government funded and to avert a potentially devastating federal default, while also keeping their promises to pass over $4 trillion in fresh spending on healthcare, climate initiatives, infrastructure, and childcare.
The Senate passed the measure with Democratic and Republican votes earlier this year, and Pelosi promised centrists in her caucus she’d bring up the bill by the end of September.
Biden is eager to sign the bill and declare a legislative win after helping negotiate the bill with a bipartisan group of senators.
Biden’s approval numbers have been in steep decline amid a chaotic scene involving thousands of illegal immigrants at the southern border, a bungled military withdrawal from Afghanistan, struggles to respond to the COVID-19 delta variant, and rising inflation.
Pelosi emphasized the president in a memo to lawmakers Friday morning, promising to bring up both the infrastructure bill and the larger social welfare spending package next week.
“We are moving forward to advance President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation, which reflects Democrats’ vision for the future,” Pelosi said.
With time running out, the Democratic-run House Budget Committee will convene in a rare Saturday session to advance the $3.5 trillion package to the House floor for the promised vote next week.
The measure would provide free community college, free preschool, expanded Medicare benefits, paid family and medical leave, extended child tax credits, green energy policies, and more.
Biden's multi-trillion bet to change America is in peril as Trump waits to pounce
President Joe Biden's $4 trillion bid to change America is in genuine danger as deep divides among Democrats threaten to gut his domestic agenda and demoralize the party before congressional elections that could hand power to Donald Trump's Republicans.Biden is trying to spend huge sums to hand more of the spoils of America's rich economy to working and middle-income Americans. In a plan that some Republican senators support, he is pushing $1 trillion to mend roads, bridges and transportation systems. A separate $3.
While most of the Democratic caucus supports the bill, few believe it stands a chance in the Senate, where a small group of centrists opposes the cost and the planned tax increases that would come with it. They also object to some policy changes, such as allowing the government to negotiate Medicare drug prices.
Liberal Democrats said on Friday they won’t back the infrastructure bill until the social welfare legislation passes the House and Senate, which could delay the entire package by weeks, if not longer.
Pelosi was noncommittal when asked whether the infrastructure bill could pass next week.
“We're bringing the bill up,” Pelosi said. “We will have a vote when we have the votes.”
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Why Democrats’ climate goals may test their Latino appeal .
BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — At a recent house party near the U.S.-Mexico border, the conversation with Democratic congressional candidate Rochelle Garza flowed from schools and taxes to immigration and efforts to convert an old railway line into a hiking trail. One thing that didn't come up that Friday night over Corona beers and Domino's deep dish pizza: the effort by Democrats in Washington to use a massive federal spending package to beat back climate change. “It’s not that the district is more moderate or moderately more conservative,” said Garza, 36, an immigration lawyer running for the House seat held by retiring centrist Democrat Filemon Vela.