Thursday ReadsPosted: September 30, 2021
It looks like an agreement to keep the government running has been reached at the last minute, but there’s no agreement on raising the debt limit as yet. CBS News: Schumer announces agreement to prevent government shutdown.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday night that an agreement to keep the government funded andhas been reached.
“We have an agreement on the C.R. — the continuing resolution — to prevent a government shutdown, and we should be voting on that tomorrow morning,” he said on the Senate floor. The majority leader said he hopes to hold a vote on final passage by midday — hours before government funding would have run out, at midnight Thursday.
The short-term government funding bill would keep federal agencies operating through December 3, but it does not address the looming deadline to raise theto avoid U.S. default. The bill includes $6.3 billion for relocation efforts for Afghan refugees, as well as $28.6 billion for disaster assistance following a spate of devastating hurricanes and wildfires.
Once the bill passes in the Senate, the House will take it up, so it can then be sent to President Biden to sign before government funding expires.
Next on the Congressional agenda: Biden’s infrastructure bills, which are being held hostage by “Democrats” Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
A vote is scheduled in the House today, but no one knows what would be required for it to pass the Senate.
Late Wednesday, Manchin released the type of statement that has irritated large groups of Democrats in the past with its emphasis on slowing down and scaling back.
“At some point, all of us, regardless of party must ask the simple question — how much is enough?,” he wrote. Manchin didn’t provide more details on his views beyond concern over the package’s size, but he did emphasize that he wanted any new programs to have provisions that would establish limits on who could receive the benefits based on income….
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.), a moderate Democrat who wants to pass the infrastructure bill regardless of the state of negotiations on the other package, said he has spoken to Manchin, who told him his top line number, but Cuellar would not say what it was. Manchin has floated that something in the range of $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion could potentially work, but Sinema has not given any inclination of what she could support.
While Manchin often talks with reporters, puts out statements and writes op-eds, Sinema prefers to share as little as possible publicly and declines to answer reporters’ questions.
Some voters in Arizona are getting fed up with Sinema’s act. Kyrsten Sinema Is at the Center of It All. Some Arizonans Wish She Weren’t.
Jade Duran once spent her weekends knocking on doors to campaign for Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the stubbornly centrist Democrat whose vote could seal the fate of a vast Democratic effort to remake America’s social safety net. But no more.
When Ms. Sinema famously gave a thumbs down to a $15 minimum wage and refused to eliminate the filibuster to pass new voting rights laws this year, Ms. Duran, a Democrat and biomedical engineer from Phoenix, decided she was fed up. She joined dozens of liberal voters and civil rights activists in a rolling series of protests outside Ms. Sinema’s Phoenix offices, which have been taking place since the summer. Nearly 50 people have been arrested.
“It really feels like she does not care about her voters,” said Ms. Duran, 33, who was arrested in July at a protest. “I will never vote for her again.”
Ms. Sinema, a onetime school social worker and Green Party-aligned activist, vaulted through the ranks of Arizona politics by running as a zealous bipartisan willing to break with her fellow Democrats. She counts John McCain, the Republican senator who died in 2018, as a hero, and has found support from independent voters and moderate suburban women in a state where Maverick is practically its own party.
But now, Ms. Sinema is facing a growing political revolt at home from the voters who once counted themselves among her most devoted supporters. Many of the state’s most fervent Democrats now see her as an obstructionist whose refusal to sign on to a major social policy and climate change bill has helped imperil the party’s agenda.
Little can proceed without the approval of Ms. Sinema, one of two marquee Democratic moderates in an evenly divided Senate. While she has balked at the $3.5 trillion price tag and some of the tax-raising provisions of the bill, which is opposed by all Republicans in Congress, Democrats in Washington and back home in Arizona have grown exasperated.
According to NBC News, Sinema could even face a primary challenge.
And then there are the “progressives.” Sam Brodey at The Daily Beast: Progressives Come to Their Put-Up or Shut-Up Moment.
With a critical vote looming on a pivotal part of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, it’s a put-up or shut-up moment for every faction of the Democratic Party, but one particular group especially: the Progressive Caucus.
In recent years, liberal Democrats have often found themselves swallowing much of their discontent as watered-down policies and compromises were the norm in a divided government. But with Democrats now fully in control of Washington, progressives finally seem poised to fight.
There are two bills Biden has said he wants to get done: a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill for things like roads and bridges, and a $3.5 trillion bill for social programs like childcare, elder care, climate change, and a host of other programs that Democrats would have to pass on their own through a special reconciliation process.
After the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed the Senate in August, a small group of moderates in the House have been angling for ways to pass that bill and only that bill—the larger reconciliation package be damned. Progressives, realizing that this is the gambit, have sworn they will not support the infrastructure bill unless and until the $3.5 trillion package moves through Congress too.
On Thursday, progressives may finally get their chance to show moderates that they aren’t bluffing.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has promised a vote on the infrastructure bill, and though that plan has been rapidly in flux for days, progressives will get a chance to demonstrate to moderates that it’s all or nothing—either both bills pass, or none of them do.
Read more at the link. And at CBS News, see a summary of what’s in the $3.5 Trillion bill. While all this bickering goes on in Congress, Biden is remaining calm for now. The Washington Post: Biden sticks to his dealmaking strategy, as some Democrats want him to do more to bring holdouts on board.
More important stories to check out:
Margaret Sullivan at The Washington Post: A Trump lawyer wrote an instruction manual for a coup. Why haven’t you seen it on the news?
David Leonhardt at The New York Times: The Right to Health
Ed Yong at The Atlantic: We’re Already Barreling Toward the Next Pandemic.
Have a good day!!!