WASHINGTON – Democratic congressional leaders, backed by the White House, announced Monday that they would go ahead with a vote to fund the government and suspend debt limits, but all courageous Republicans say they will continue despite the risk of a fiscal crisis. Will vote against it.
Congress is running headlong into an all-too-familiar impasse: If funding stops at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, the federal government faces a shutdown. Also, the US runs the risk of defaulting on its accumulated debt load if the borrowing limit is not waived or adjusted.
All this while Democratic lawmakers are laboring to shoulder President Joe Biden’s massive $3.5 trillion “build back better” agenda through the House and Senate with stiff opposition from Republicans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer wrote in a joint statement: “The American people expect our Republican allies to fulfill their responsibilities and fulfill the debts they proudly owed.”
From the White House, the president endorsed Congressional leaders’ plan to hold the vote.
“This is a bipartisan responsibility, as was the case under my predecessor,” Biden said in a tweet. “Blocking it would be unforgivable.”
The magnitude of the challenges ahead and the momentum required to get the job done is such that Congress has faced nothing in recent memory, given Biden’s entire domestic agenda and the political fortunes of his Democratic Party at a crucial moment.
As Democrats charge further, Republicans as a minority party in Congress are hoping to regain control in the next election in 2022, planning to sit back, watch and wait to see what happens. As to whether Biden and his allies can succeed against the odds – or fail spectacularly.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he’s not going to help pay off past debts at a time when Biden is about to pile more with a “reckless” tax and spending package.
“Since the Democrats decided to go it alone, they will not get the help of Senate Republicans to raise the debt limit. I have explained this clearly and consistently for more than two months,” McConnell told the Senate floor on Monday. But said.
A vote this week on funding to keep the government running before September 30 and allowing more borrowing will open the political deadlock.
The Treasury Department warned it would soon run out of cash-on-hand, and would have to rely on incoming receipts to pay its obligations, which now stand at $28.4 trillion. This could force the Treasury to delay or default on payments, a disastrous situation.
“Doing so would increase the likelihood of a historic financial crisis,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote in the Wall Street Journal.
Stocks on Wall Street closed sharply lower on Monday, handing the S&P 500 index its biggest fall in four months as concerns about heavily indebted Chinese real estate developers engulfed the markets and investors worried that The US Federal Reserve may signal that it is planning to pull some back. Regarding the support measures it is giving to the market and the economy.
Once a routine affair, raising the debt limit has become a political weapon of choice for Republicans in Washington ever since Tea Party lawmakers refused to allow it in 2011. At the time, he argued against overspending and the impasse led to a financial crisis.
Echoing that tactic, McConnell is refusing to provide the Republican vote, even though some GOP senators may have a tough time voting numbers.
The package is expected to keep most spending at their current levels on a stopgap basis through the end of the year and includes supplemental funding for the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and other natural disasters, as well as funds to help with evacuations from Afghanistan. Is. Working on legislative language to allow more borrowing will cover the country’s debt payments by 2022.
Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, whose state was hit by the storm and is up for election next year, said he would vote if “the disaster relief portion is acceptable”. He added, “Because my people are in dire need of help.”
When McConnell was in control of the Senate, he relied on Democratic votes to help raise the debt limit during the previous administration, and Democrats said they expected the same from him now. It typically takes 60 votes to advance bills divided into a 50–50 Senate, meaning that at least 10 GOP senators would be needed.
“What Republicans are doing is nothing short of eating and drinking of historic proportions,” Schumer said withholding the vote.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Democrats are negotiating Biden’s massive $3.5 trillion package among themselves as the price tag likely slips to win over skeptical centrist lawmakers who consider it too high.
The size and scope of Biden’s “Build Back Better” initiative cannot be overstated. It touches almost all aspects of the lives of Americans.
Biden’s plan aims not only to rebuild the country after the COVID-19 crisis and economic fallout, but to begin changing longstanding federal spending patterns that provide more services to more Americans, and address rising income inequality. Try to level what is prevalent in the economy.
The proposal would impose tax increases on corporations and wealthy Americans earning more than $400,000 annually and put that money back into federal programs for young and old. It will enhance and expand government health, education and family support programs for families, children and seniors, and promote environmental infrastructure programs to fight climate change.
With Republicans in lockstep opposition to Biden’s broader vision, Democrats have no votes to vote in the Senate, and a margin of only a few votes in the House.
Pelosi has promised to vote on September 27 on a companion bill, a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill for public works projects that has broad support from both sides in the Senate, though House Republicans mostly oppose it.
Even though that bipartisan bill should be an easy legislative lift, it also faces a political hurdle. Dozens of lawmakers in the Congressional Progressive Caucus are expected to vote against it if it comes ahead with a comprehensive Biden package. But the centrists will not vote for a comprehensive package unless they are assured that a bipartisan bill will also be included.