The U.S. will be forced to default on its debts starting on October 18 if Congress does not suspend the debt limit before then, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a letter. That puts a concrete date on the urgency of Congress taking action—but Senate Republicans won’t let it happen.
The House has passed a bill to suspend the debt ceiling into December 2022 and prevent a government shutdown this week by extending government funding to this December. Senate Republicans filibustered that on Monday, making the prospect of both shutdown and default more real.
That’s not the only mess currently going on in Congress, though. Pelosi announced that the House will move ahead on a bipartisan infrastructure bill despite that bill having until now been coupled with the larger Senate reconciliation package containing many of the most popular parts of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan. Conservative Democrats have been pushing for the infrastructure bill to move as soon as possible. At the same time, progressive Democrats say they will not support it until the reconciliation bill containing funding for education and care work and climate priorities is also up for a vote.
Part of the problem, Rep. Ilhan Omar pointed out, is that conservative Democrats like Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema aren’t actually offering their demands for the Build Back Better bill. “I would actually like them to make their demands clear so that we can engage with that,” The New York Times quoted Omar, who added that the bills “have to be linked in order for anything to pass the House.”
Pelosi’s planned vote on the infrastructure bill comes Thursday, and, as Pelosi has said, again and again, she does not bring anything to the floor unless she has the votes. That suggests she’s confident that Republican support will be enough to replace progressives who refuse to vote for it, despite Republican leadership whipping against the bill, which got 19 Republican votes in the Senate.
But even assuming that bill passes the House, an unholy mess remains. There’s the looming shutdown. And the looming debt default. And the huge chunk of the president’s agenda, the Democratic agenda, is still being negotiated with Democrats who seem to feel more beholden to corporate donors than to the majority of U.S. voters who want to see many of the plan’s provisions passed.
Senate Republicans filibustered the bill that would have kept the government from shutting down because it would also have kept the government from defaulting on its debts—debts in many cases incurred by Republicans—and they want Democrats to have to do that. Specifically, they know that the only way Democrats can do that without a Republican filibuster stopping it is to put it in a reconciliation bill, which can pass the Senate with simple majority support. Putting a hard deadline on that bill puts pressure on the negotiators and makes everything more difficult for Democrats. And that, not avoiding the economic disaster of a default, which would likely lead to a recession, is the priority for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans.
Assuming Pelosi’s vote-counting is accurate, which it usually is, the House will clear one of four tricky bills from the queue on Thursday. But it’s the equivalent of doing the easiest thing on your to-do list so that you can cross something off while all the tough stuff is still waiting for you. In this case, the hard items on the to-do list have a massive impact on the nation, starting with a possible shutdown on Friday and getting worse from there.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.