Will the government shut down next week? Will the government default on its financial obligations a couple weeks later? All that and much more—like the medium-range future of U.S. infrastructure and a good chunk of the economy—are at stake in Congress in the coming weeks. If you’re reading this, it may not surprise you to learn that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans are doing their best to turn everything into a disaster in hopes that it will help Republicans win in 2022 and 2024.
Depending how you count them, there are four different legislative priorities at stake here. Or three. Or two. Or one big messy tangle.
On Monday, the Senate will vote on the House-passed bill averting an Oct. 1 government shutdown by extending government funding to December and averting a later-in-October debt default by suspending the debt limit to December 2022. Republicans will filibuster that because they want to force Democrats to put the debt limit in a budget reconciliation bill that can’t be filibustered. Noting that the debt limit has been an issue repeatedly in recent years, The New York Times’ Maggie Astor writes, accurately, “The particularly exhausting thing about this latest running of the exercise is that both parties acknowledge the debt ceiling must be raised—but Republicans are insisting that Democrats do it alone while simultaneously preventing them from doing so through regular procedures.”
Also on Monday, the House is expected to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal, a $1.2 billion package including $550 billion of new spending. But House progressives have said they won’t support it unless it comes at the same time as a larger reconciliation package that could be passed on a party line vote in the Senate. Things are very much up in the air, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi trying to balance what her more conservative members want with what her progressive members want, and a narrow margin for passing both bills. House leaders are reportedly now saying there’s a chance the House could vote on a reconciliation bill next week, but that continues to seem like a long shot.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill contains a lot of funding for traditional hard infrastructure: roads and bridges, transit and rail, broadband, power and water systems, and more. The Build Back Better reconciliation package, still being fiercely negotiated with conservative Democrats like Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, is intended to include more measures to address climate change; funding for care work and families; dental, vision, and hearing coverage in Medicare; affordable housing; and more. But what it will ultimately include and for how long those priorities will be funded is very much up for grabs.
One key part of the Republican push for Democrats to pass the debt ceiling suspension in reconciliation on a party line vote is that McConnell is trying to screw up the negotiation process for the reconciliation bill, forcing a quick vote on a poorly negotiated package. That being the case, you have to wonder if Democratic leadership could use the fact that the reconciliation bill must pass because it would be so disastrous for the U.S. to default on its obligations—potentially spurring a recession and sending unemployment back up to 9%—to pressure Manchin and Sinema to vote yes on things they might otherwise hesitate on.
The U.S. will face economic struggle if the Republicans do not agree to avert a government shutdown by extending federal funding before Sept. 30. The U.S. will face economic disaster if Republicans manage to block a debt limit suspension. The U.S. will face continuing crumbling infrastructure, inadequate systems of care for elders and children, overstretched families, and climate damage and ultimately disaster if the bipartisan infrastructure bill and Build Back Better aren’t both passed.
You could say there’s a lot at stake in the coming week. It would be kind of an understatement.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.