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Saturday, October 16, 2021

GOP blocks bill to keep government running; new try ahead

by Lisa Mascaro and Zeke Miller

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican senators blocked a bill Monday night to keep the government running and allow federal borrowing, but Democrats promised to try again to stop a shutdown — as well. President Joe Biden’s big plans to reshuffle the government.

The efforts aren’t necessarily linked, but last Thursday’s fiscal year deadline to fund the government is clashing against Democrats’ willingness to make progress on Biden’s $3.5 trillion federal overhaul.

All of this is creating a difficult moment for Biden and his party, the consequences of which will certainly shape his presidency and his political future of lawmakers.

The success would mean a historic achievement, if Democrats can help pass Biden’s big bill. Failure — or the highly unlikely government shutdown and debt crisis — can derail careers.

“You know me, I’m a born optimist,” Biden told reporters on Monday, as he rolled up his sleeve for a COVID-19 booster shot. “We’re going to get it done.”

Monday’s 50-48 vote against taking the bill fell far short of the 60 needed to move forward on the GOP filibuster. Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer changed his vote to “no,” a procedural step that allows him to bring the measure back for consideration, which he said will take place this week.

With days to go, Democrats said they would try again before Thursday’s deadline to fund government actions at the end of the September 30 fiscal year, setting aside debate on debt limits for another day. Doing so, closer to a different October deadline.

Meanwhile, real action is unfolding behind the scenes of a more than $3.5 trillion measure, with Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress demanding a once-in-a-generation rework of the nation’s balance sheet.

From free pre-kindergarten and child care subsidies for families with young children to dental and hearing aids for seniors with Medicare, the president’s proposal has a lot to offer — all to be paid for with high taxes on corporations and the wealthy. Is.

With strong opposition from Republicans, Democrats are racing to cut the total within their own party and win holdouts.

“We just have to make difficult choices,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House Democrats during an evening caucus meeting, according to a person who did not wish to discuss the private session.

As the overall price tag comes down, Pelosi said the president is “working on that piece,” referring to ongoing talks with the Senate. Despite the flurry of votes, Pelosi said House Democrats would not move forward on a bill until it was accepted by her colleagues in the Senate. “We’re not there yet,” she said.

Leaving the caucus meeting, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., said that as the momentum picks up on Thursday, he was hoping for a new total: “Let’s pop the numbers. “

Building on a separate $1 trillion bipartisan public works package that has already been approved by the Senate and headed for a House vote, also on Thursday, Biden spurred large spending on health care, education and efforts to tackle climate change. is demanding. He argues that the total price tag is actually “zero” – covered by the expected increase in tax revenue.

He is personally calling on fellow Democrats in Congress to work out differences and bring forward his broader domestic policy approach.

Removing the weighty list of goals as well as meeting other deadlines, Biden said, “If we do that, the country will be in a very good position.”

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The White House said in a readout of the call, Biden, Pelosi and Schumer honed in on the way forward in the afternoon and “will continue their close coordination in the days to come.”

But Republicans say this is real spending that cannot be afforded, and is a reflection of the Democrats’ campaign to put government in the lives of the people.

And so far, the bill is too big for major Democrats, whose votes are needed before the GOP opposition. Two Democratic holdouts, West Virginia’s Sans Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kirsten Cinema, have said they would not support a bill of that size. Munchkin previously proposed spending from $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion.

Progressive lawmakers said they have already reached substantial agreements with more centrist Democrats, but in a possible development, Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, confirmed that she and cinema are in talks. Huh.

With opposition from all Republicans, Democratic leaders can’t spare a single vote in the 50-50 Senate, relying on Vice President Kamala Harris to break a tie to pass the final package.

It all comes as other deadlines this week for payment of government actions allow more borrowing or risk a catastrophic federal shutdown or loan default – though those dire scenarios are unlikely.

The bill Senate Republicans rejected on Monday night would have temporarily funded government actions in early December, while also providing Hurricane Ida and other disaster relief and emergency funding for Afghan refugees.

Republican leader Mitch McConnell rejected that approach because Democrats included a provision to suspend debt limits, which would allow the country to continue borrowing to pay bills.

Once a routine affair, raising the debt limit is now a political weapon of choice by Republicans to attack Democrats – even though both parties have been responsible for piling on the debt.

Schumer said before the vote, “Democrats will do the responsible thing — the right thing, the decades-long work by both parties — and vote yes.”

He called the Republican opposition “rude”.

McConnell has said he wants to fund the government and prevent a catastrophic loan default, but wants to force Democrats to split the package in two and take the politically uneasy debt ceiling vote on their own.

“Republicans are not implicated for shutdowns or debt limit violations,” he said.

The House began debate on the Public Works bill late Monday, and while it found bipartisan support in the Senate, House Republican leaders are wary of backing it. Donald Trump, the former president who tried and failed to secure an infrastructure deal at the White House, is rallying in opposition to it.

As Pelosi met privately with House Democrats on Monday, it was clear she was pressing Biden’s comprehensive package to move forward as quickly as possible.

Biden’s proposal is to raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 26.5% on businesses earning more than $5 million a year, and to raise the top rate on individuals for those earning more than $400,000. To increase from 37% to 39.6%. years, or $450,000 for couples.

While Democrats largely agree on Biden’s approach – many have long based their campaigns on party priorities – stubborn controversy remains, including how to move toward clean energy or lowering the cost of drugs.


Associated Press writers Hope Yen, Alan Fram and Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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