Congressional Democrats will turn to urgent budget matters this week, putting aside their ambitious $ 3.5 trillion social policy measure for now as they attempt to keep the government in office beyond September 30 , increase the federal borrowing limit and honor President Nancy Pelosi’s promise of infrastructure to vote by September 27.
The ideological divisions within the party and the intransigent Republican opposition will not facilitate any of these tasks.
“Our leadership is on this,” Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat, told TUSEN on Sunday. “We work with everyone in all corners of our party. They are trying to find common ground on all of these issues, and I feel very comfortable that we are going to get there.
With 10 days before much of the government runs out of cash, House Democrats are expected to vote this week on an interim spending bill that would keep government open and fund reconstruction from Hurricane Ida , response to forest fires, resettlement of Afghans and other emergency matters.
This bill could then be paired with a move to raise the debt limit that must be exceeded before the Treasury can no longer pay its creditors – next month.
Rep. John Yarmuth, Democrat of Kentucky and chairman of the House Budget Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday” Democrats may choose to keep the debt limit separate from the spending bill – to show Republicans publicly rejecting the higher borrowing limit needed to pay for tax cuts and spending under President Donald J. Trump.
“Personally, I would like to see a frank vote on a debt ceiling, so Republicans actually have to vote on that vote only and not mix it up with a fundraising measure,” he said, “But ultimately the most important thing is to do them both.
Senate Republicans remain adamant that they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling, although Democrats have helped them solve the problem during the Trump years. If Republicans decide to filibuster, the government could turn to its very first default. This, in turn, could trigger a financial crisis, or at least, a crisis of confidence in the solvency and governance of the United States.
If Democrats decide to tie a debt ceiling increase to disaster relief, they may be hoping to win Republican senators from states hard hit by hurricanes and wildfires. But Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana showed little willingness to compromise on Sunday.
“If you want to come back and meet where we can actually find common ground, where we can actually meet the needs as opposed to a Democratic wish list, then we’ll help you,” Mr. Cassidy said on “Meet the Press “from NBC. “But not when you’re just trying to stimulate the economy by fueling inflation.”
Parts of Louisiana were still without power three weeks after the state was hit by Hurricane Ida.
Beyond these partisan divisions, there are debates within the Democratic ranks. Ms Pelosi promised moderate Democrats that she would pass a bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill by September 27, thus gaining time to push forward the party’s social policy measure – a priority for Democrats liberals.
But Democrats are a long way from a final version of the social policy bill that can maintain near-full Democratic unity in the House and Senate, and House progressives are threatening to vote against the infrastructure bill. ‘it hits the ground first. Mr Yarmuth said “the current plan” is still to pass the infrastructure bill next Monday, but suggested that some creative sleight of hand could be underway to cover up the divisions.
“According to the rules, the president does not have to present the bill to the president for signature,” he said on Sunday. “She can keep this bill for a while. So there is some flexibility in how we link the two mandates.