US lawmakers have a busy month as they face deadlines for major budget and defense tasks, and what Democrats are hoping will meet the $2 trillion collection of health care, climate and family services programs. Will do
The most important issue for Congress is funding the federal government. The previous stopgap agreement at the end of September allowed government agencies to continue working until December 3, but that means a new deal needs to be struck to avoid a government shutdown by Friday.
Soon after, Congress would need to address the debt limit by raising the current level or by suspending the cap on how much debt the Treasury Department is allowed to issue. Without any action, the government will have to delay payments or even default on some of its debt obligations, with potential complications for financial markets and the global economy.
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact date of the loan limit because it involves balancing government spending commitments with the flow of funds to the Treasury. But Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the debt limit could be met by December 15.
Lawmakers are also working towards approving the annual defense spending bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, before the end of the year. The measure, which authorizes appropriations for the Defense Department and sets out Pentagon policies, has a long history of bringing Democrats and Republicans together, having been approved every year since 1961. This year’s edition is worth about $768 billion.
Democrats are also hoping to get one of President Joe Biden’s key policy initiatives through Congress in the coming weeks, winning Senate approval for a $2 trillion program that includes child tax credits, housing aid, climate Includes items such as incentives and efforts to deal with change. Limit prescription drug costs.
The Democrat-led House of Representatives approved the package without any Republican votes. The measure faces greater uncertainty in the Senate, where Democrats have an even smaller majority.