A vote to fund the government could take place today
Lawmakers are playing politics with the nation’s wallet and time is running out.
The timing and tactics of government spending – past, present, and future – will converge into a series of hard and soft deadlines and massive partisan deadlock over the next month, and the end result could be any combination of:
- A government shutdown, where some public services are at a standstill
- A very first US government default on its debt, which could lead to what has been described as “Financial Armageddon”
- A bipartisan bill to fix roads and bridges and other things
- A new round of massive spending to fight climate change and inequalities
We just don’t know how it’s going to play out.
Here are the key dates to know:
- Tomorrow: Government funding expires at midnight, which could trigger a partial shutdown. Over the weekend, Pelosi said the House would vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill by that date, although that could slip if the bill did not have enough support to pass.
- Mid-October: The government hits its borrowing limit, which could trigger a first US default and self-inflicted economic crisis if the US is unable to pay all of its bills on time. This could delay federal payments, including Social Security checks and monthly child tax credit payments.
What must happen for the country to continue to function? Democrats have tied the debt limit and must-have spending, hoping to shame Republicans by helping raise the debt limit.
Republicans are determined to implement Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s threat to force Democrats to use partisan parliamentary tactics to both fund the government and raise the country’s ceiling.
What else are lawmakers trying to accomplish? There is a bipartisan infrastructure bill to repair the country’s roads and bridges and initiate other necessary upgrades.
If Democrats can pass this bipartisan infrastructure bill, they could also gain momentum to make an even larger down payment of $ 3.5 trillion for their efforts to pivot the US economy to renewables. and fight inequalities through new spending programs. Over the weekend, Pelosi conceded to progressives that the House would not vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal until Thursday, in hopes that Democrats could agree on a framework for the bill on infrastructure. wider economic agenda.
Will Republicans allow votes on all of this? It is to be determined, but probably not.
McConnell is pushing Republicans in the Senate to stand united and push back private pleas from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that failure to raise the debt ceiling could spiral the US economy as it recovers of the pandemic.
Are they just going to allow the country to default? Not clear. For now, the coordinated blockade of GOP votes to pay the nation’s bills is an utterly cynical but perhaps brilliant chess move from a master tactician freed from sentimental attachment to coins, which in this case include the full faith and credit of the United States.
“Senator McConnell rarely asks us to vote in a particular way, but on this one he has made his wishes known, and I do not think he is bluffing,” Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana told The Hill . Kennedy, whose state needs disaster relief that’s also featured in this government funding bill, is among the very few Republicans who have said they could break with their party and vote with the democrats. He said McConnell shows no signs of changing his mind. “He’s like that Missouri mule on this one, just sitting in the mud and not moving, and I don’t think there will be 10 votes to pass the (fundraising bill.)”
Why are Republicans in Congress doing this? There are many who are simply against spending. Some opposed it even when Republicans controlled Washington, although they all found a way to vote for temporary tax cuts that break the budget. But we won’t have to deal with it for a few years.
Voters blamed Republicans for the last two government shutdowns and there has never been a default. In 2013 and 2018, McConnell was the one vying for the votes to keep things running and the bills paid.
Now barely in the minority, he does not feel responsible for finding votes.
If Social Security can’t send checks and the Treasury Department can’t sell bonds, it’s their fault. If Democrats can pull together their rowdy caucus to get things done, the trip will divide them further.
McConnell’s bet is that Democrats will eventually suck it up and do it, giving Republicans a unifying message of fiscal responsibility to get them out of the Trump era. Better to call the Democrats wild spenders, even if that means the United States is defaulting on its debt.
You can read the full article here.