Congress is set to take key votes on Biden’s infrastructure plans, government funding to avert a shutdown, and raising the government’s debt ceiling. It is going to be a wild week.
This week in Washington is filled with deadlines and tripwires as Democrats face a daunting agenda of government funding, debt ceiling extensions, and infrastructure spending.
- House Democrats are expected to take up a $3.5 trillion “reconciliation” spending bill, now dubbed the “package to expand social safety net programs” along with a traditional appropriations bill to prevent a government shutdown on Oct. 1.
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently said the reconciliation bill is likely to shrink as the House, Senate, and White House negotiate the final details.
- Despite promising to moderate Democratic lawmakers a vote on a bipartisan infrastructure deal by Sept. 27, Pelosi announced the vote will be later in the week.
- To give an example of how large the two bills, which would cost a combined $4.7 trillion, are, Axios reports passing “even a fraction of it” would “have a transformative impact on day-to-day life.”
- This week’s legislative gamut is being considered the real test of the Biden administration’s agenda as the President worked the phones this weekend in what Politico called “a throw-everything-at-the-wall attempt” to pass the legislation.
- CNN’s “analysis” of the situation highlighted the in-fighting among Democrats on the size, scope, and price tag of Biden’s attempt to “change America”, then retreated to the insistence that Trump is really at fault because he spoke “lies and venom at a weekend rally.”
- Huffington Post took aim at West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, advocating for the $3.5 trillion “social safety net” bill he opposes and listing off programs they believe will help his constituents.
- The cost of the bill is the focus of ABC News, which silently agrees that the “cost” would be “zero” if it includes provisions that “fully cover the cost of the legislation”, setting up a raft of new tax increases.
- Quin Hillyer wrote an opinion column in the Washington Examiner that the Democratic in-fighting over the “social spending bill” is good for America because it slows down or dramatically reduces the likelihood of the bill’s passage.
- Newsmax interviewed Republican Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, who criticized the “socialist spending blowout” and that Americans do not believe in “cradle-to-grave socialism.”
- Breitbart framed the news of the scheduled vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal as moderates caving to progressives after a handful of “moderate” members pledged support for the $3.5 trillion social spending plan in return for the bipartisan bill’s vote.
Axios’ framing of the legislation is something we really have not seen much of. Their report spells out just how transformative this legislative agenda is. Democrats call it investment; Republicans call it intrusion. Republicans say it betrays the larger promise of American federalism while Democrats believe it enhances it and makes good on the promises of a more equal nation.
The machinations of House Democrats are interesting as both sides play a game of chicken. Recent history provides examples of both sides backing down. In the Senate, Joe Manchin tends to puff his chest, oppose major Democrat legislative ambitions, but accede in the end after securing the most modest of changes.
It will be a wild week. If it all fails, the blame game will be interesting.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021