“For the first time in 20 years, the United States is not at war. We’ve turned the page,” Joe Biden shares on Twitter, however many critics argue the war has just moved to a divided America where 50% of the country feels betrayed after the Afghanistan fiasco. Political experts argue that the Afghanistan war has simply taken the media attention away from what is about to happen in congress.
Democratic congressional leaders, backed by the White House, said Monday that they will go forward with a vote to finance the government and suspend the debt ceiling, all but defying Republicans who have said they would vote no despite the danger of a fiscal catastrophe.
Congress is racing headlong towards an all-too-familiar impasse: the federal government threatens a shutdown if financing ends on September 30; at the same time, the United States risks defaulting on its accumulated debt if borrowing limits are not waived or modified.
All of this is happening as Democratic legislators work to get President Biden’s $3.5 billion “Build Back Better” plan through the House and Senate, over Republican resistance.
In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said, “The American people expect our Republican colleagues to live up to their responsibilities and make good on the debts they proudly helped incur.”
The president supported the congressional leaders’ proposal to hold the votes from the White House.
In a tweet, Biden said, “This is a bipartisan responsibility, just as it was under my predecessor.” “It would be inexcusable to block it.”
The scale of the problems ahead, as well as the speed with which they must be met, are unlike anything Congress has seen in recent memory, putting Biden’s entire domestic program, as well as the Democratic Party’s electoral future, in jeopardy.
Republicans, as the minority party in Congress seeking to reclaim power in the 2022 election, intend to sit back and watch to see whether Biden and his friends will prevail against the odds, or if they will fail miserably.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, said he won’t assist pay off previous debts if Biden plans to add to them with a “reckless” tax and spending package.
The vote this week on financing to keep the government operating beyond September 30 and allow for additional borrowing will bring the political impasse to the surface.
The Treasury Department has warned that it would soon run out of cash and will have to depend on incoming revenues to meet its $28.4 trillion in commitments. This may compel the Treasury to postpone or skip payments, which would be disastrous.
Concerns about heavily indebted Chinese real estate developers rippled through markets Monday, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes tumbling to its lowest level in four months. Investors were also concerned that the US Federal Reserve might signal that it plans to withdraw support measures it has been providing markets and the economy.
Since the advent of tea party legislators in 2011, who refused to raise the debt limit, the debt ceiling has become a political weapon for Republicans. They were opposed to additional expenditure at the time, and the impasse resulted in a fiscal catastrophe.
In line with that approach, McConnell is refusing to give Republican votes, despite the fact that some GOP senators may find it difficult to vote no.
The package is likely to maintain most spending at current levels on a temporary basis through the end of the year, and it will contain additional cash for the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and other natural disasters, as well as money to assist offset the costs of the Afghan evacuations. Adding wording to the bill that allows for additional borrowing would meet the nation’s debt obligations until 2022.
Democrats said they expect McConnell to do the same now that he is in charge of the Senate. When McConnell was in charge of the Senate, he depended on Democrats’ votes to help increase the debt limit during the Trump presidency, and Democrats said they anticipate the same from him again. In the now-divided 50–50 Senate, it usually requires 60 votes to pass a measure, implying that at least 10 GOP senators would be required.
Meanwhile, Democrats are haggling behind the scenes over Biden’s $3.5 trillion plan, with the price tag expected to fall to appease wary centrist members.
The “Build Back Better” initiative’s magnitude and scope cannot be emphasized. It has an impact on virtually every area of American life. Biden’s proposal seeks to not only rebuild the nation after the COVID-19 pandemic and economic repercussions but also to start changing long-standing government spending patterns to offer more services to more Americans and to try to balance increasing wealth disparity.
The plan would raise taxes on companies and affluent Americans earning more than $400,000 per year, with the proceeds going to government programs for children and the elderly. It would enhance environmental infrastructure projects and increase and expand government health, education, and family support programs for households, children, and the elderly, as well as increase and expand government health, education, and family support services.
Democrats have no votes to spare in the Senate and just a few votes in the House since Republicans are united in their opposition to Biden’s agenda.
Pelosi has promised a vote on a companion package, a $1 trillion local infrastructure plan including public works projects that has bipartisan backing in the Senate but is mostly opposed by House Republicans.
Despite the fact that that bipartisan law should be a piece of cake to pass, it, too, confronts a political roadblock. If it comes before the larger Biden package, dozens of members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are likely to vote against it. Centrists, on the other hand, will not support the larger package unless the bipartisan measure is included.
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