Fall will test leaders’ ability to keep Congress on rails

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Year-end piles of important laws and the rigors that go with them are common practice for Congress. This autumn, lawmakers are turning to battles that are striking for the risks they pose to both sides and their leaders.

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While some doubt that Congress will extend the government’s borrowing authority again when it expires in December, no one is quite sure how they will do it. Democrats don’t yet have the votes to legislate President Joe Biden’s top priorities. And Republicans are terrified that Democrats may undermine the filibuster rule that allows a minority party in the Senate to derail the law.

Miscalculations and a catastrophic federal lapse could lead to the collapse of Biden’s domestic agenda and, for good measure, a damaging government shutdown. stir up MPs whose nerves are already jagged and looking to raise issues for next year’s mid-term elections, and this is a recipe for confrontation that could damage each party if leaders are not careful .

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Here are the gambles in front of each side:

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Ky., in the blink of an eye last week. And then he said that he would not blink again.

McConnell said since the summer that Republicans would not supply the majority Democrat votes needed to expand the federal debt limit. But on Thursday night, 11 Republicans, including McConnell, joined Democrats to clear a procedural hurdle so that the Senate could later approve $480 billion in fresh borrowing.

The vote was put on hold until December, marking the first time a federal default that could cripple the global economy, delay government scrutiny of Social Security recipients and others, and spark voters’ anger at lawmakers.

But the partisan dispute will resume in two months.

Republicans want Democrats to raise debt limits on their own to underscore their argument that Biden’s multitrillion-dollar social and environmental agenda is ineffective. Democrats want Republicans to put their mark on the increase in the borrowing limit, arguing that the $28 trillion national debt accounts for previously unpaid bills, including $7 trillion under former President Donald Trump.

By enabling a two-month respite on the fight, McConnell angered Republicans who wanted a tougher stance against Democrats, including Trump, who is still an intimidating force in the GOP. Even ordinary McConnell colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.C., called it “absolute surrender.”

Demonstrating the political sensitivity at play, eight of the 11 Republicans who helped Democrats approve an increase in the debt limit on Thursday are either retiring or not seeking re-election until 2024 or later. are.

On Friday night, McConnell said he “will not provide such assistance again,” citing “serious concerns” over Democrats’ huge domestic bill and “hysterics” by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y. More on that later.

Come December, have something to give. But it’s not clear how this will happen, and the stakes will be high for leaders to ensure that a partisan look doesn’t spiral out of control.

Oh — as of December 3rd, federal agencies will shut down unless Congress approves a law funding them.

Biden’s agenda

Democratic progressives and centrists are fighting over the final size and content of Biden’s proposed 10-year, $3.5 trillion social safety net, climate change and tax initiatives. The longer their fight, the more the party runs the risk that they find conflicts defining the effort itself, deviating from the widely popular programs they hope to incorporate.

Because of Senate moderates such as West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kirsten Cinema, Biden has conceded that the final price tag will be too small, about $2 trillion. Money for priorities such as the environment, health care and education will have to be reduced accordingly.

Facing unanimous Republican opposition and a paper-thin congressional majority, Democrats will need near-unanimity to succeed. The political consequences for Democrats will be shocking if Biden’s top-priority bill, along with a $1 trillion infrastructure package, takes over his party’s White House and Congress.

“I hope to God that’s not the case,” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders I-VT said Friday. He predicted both bills would pass but acknowledged “a terrible prospect” of failure.

filibuster fear

Democrats have become increasingly open to the idea of ​​filibusters, undermining Senate processes that have wreaked legislative havoc with Republicans requiring 60 votes in the 50-50 chamber to pass most bills. Munchkin and Cinema have said that they oppose that change, opposing that option.

GOP leaders worry that if a loan limit impasse moves to the brink of a default, Schumer may be able to support the filibusters erasing Manchin and Cinema to raise the loan limit. And that may, later, lead to additional exceptions for voting rights or other democratic preferences.

Sen. Kevin Cramer, Rnd. Said those fears are Republicans’ “most obvious challenge” in calculating how stubborn the debt ceiling is in the deadlock.

sour mood

Congress is a place of anger these days. Four years into Trump’s bellicose presidency, the deadly January 6 attack on the Capitol by his supporters and the high stakes have taken a toll for Democrats pushing Biden’s programs.

Broken relationships are everywhere.

Manchin said Wednesday he did not want the Democrats’ massive Household Program bill, of which Sanders is a lead author, to make America “an entitled society.”

Sanders criticizes Munchkin’s desire to…

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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