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Congress faces rush of major issues from debt limit to infrastructure in high-stakes legislative poker
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Congress is facing several major issues and critical deadlines all stacking up within a few weeks of each other, creating an extremely high-stakes pressure cooker that could have massive implications for the economy, the country and the Biden presidency.
Among the issues are the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, the debt limit and the looming government shutdown. They are all interconnected, creating a situation in which one failing could affect all the others.
With crunch time looming on these issues, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will meet with President Biden at the White House Wednesday. Meanwhile, some White House aides – including communications director Kate Bedingfield – will visit Capitol Hill to speak with lawmakers.
Here's what lawmakers face in one of the most crucial few weeks of legislation for Congress in decades.
Last month, when the House was considering the budget resolution that triggered the reconciliation process – and therefore lets Democrats circumvent the filibuster in the Senate – a group of House moderates stalled it. They wanted assurances that the infrastructure bill, which the Senate already passed, will be considered on the House floor independent of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which moderates aren't crazy about.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., cut a deal with Pelosi that set the infrastructure bill up for a Sept. 27 vote.
TOP HOUSE DEM CONFIDENT INFRASTRUCTURE AND RECONCILIATION BILLS WILL PASS DESPITE INTRAPARTY BATTLES
But now, as that deadline nears, it's unclear whether the bill will actually pass. Progressives led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., are declaring that they won't vote for the infrastructure bill until the reconciliation bill is through both chambers.
And because Gottheimer cut a deal with Pelosi that put off the infrastructure vote, Republican support that previously existed for the bill appears to have evaporated.
"We are still clear on our position that there are not going to be sufficient votes to bring up the infrastructure bill on its own. The two have to come together," Jayapal said Tuesday.
"I don’t think the speaker is going to bring a bill up that is going to fail," she added later.