Biden flies to Michigan as Washington stalemate grinds on
Ahoy there, live blog readers. Happy Tuesday.
Joe Biden heads to Michigan today to talk about … yep, what else, the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill (also known as the Build Back Better Act).
The $1tn infrastructure bill looking to improve roads, bridges, public transit and broadband and the $3.5tn reconciliation bill focusing on the “human infrastructure” of social services and environmental measures are the hot topics of the week, with an 18 October deadline looming on the debt limit and Republicans pointing at these two bills as proof that spending by Democrats is out of control.
Republicans have been saying since July that they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling and that the Democrats will have to do it on their own. The Republicans are once again utilizing the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to break, and have twice blocked Democrats’ efforts to raise the debt limit. It’s expected they will block their efforts come Wednesday too.
The Democrats could raise the ceiling with a majority vote of 51, but they are already trying that with the spending bill and do not want to complicate affairs. They also point out that they voted with Republicans to raise the ceiling when Republicans and the Trump administration were spending wildly themselves.
The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, sent a letter directly to Biden yesterday, bypassing the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, reiterating how serious he is about forcing Democrats to do this on their own.
Meanwhile, Democrats are continuing to suss out the ins and outs of reconciliation bill, with centrist senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema pushing to make the package smaller and progressives fighting to vote on it as is alongside the infrastructure bill so it has a better chance of passing.
Much more to come, of course.