House schedules votes on government funding, abortion access and Biden infrastructure package
TThe House will vote next week on a major fundraising bill that combines federal government spending with emergency funds for Afghan refugees and states hard hit by summer floods and hurricanes.
House lawmakers will return on September 20 to face a long and difficult to-do list as well as a clash with Republicans, who say they will block legislation that increases the borrowing limit in response to a plan by Democrats to spend billions of dollars on new welfare programs.
Democrats must formulate a plan to pass an increase in the debt limit following warnings from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that she is running out of maneuvers to prevent the U.S. government from defaulting on its loans.
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Democrats are debating whether to add an increase in the debt limit to the federal disaster funding and assistance bill, which would cause a standoff with the GOP but potentially attract some Republican votes.
“Conversations are ongoing and no decision has been made,” a senior Democratic official told the Washington Examiner.
In addition to funding the federal government and raising the debt ceiling, Democrats, who control the majority, plan to consider a $ 3.5 trillion social spending program as well as a $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure program. billions of dollars.
They will also pass a bill that would create federal protections against state-imposed restrictions on abortion. Democrats have announced they will review the legislation following the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Texas ban on abortions after six weeks.
“We must ensure that women and health care providers are protected and that a woman’s access to health care is not determined by where she lives,” the chief wrote on Friday. majority Steny Hoyer to his fellow Democrats.
The Maryland Democrat told lawmakers in a memo on Friday that he would schedule a vote on the infrastructure bill for the week of September 27.
Hoyer, however, did not provide a fixed date for the adoption of the social spending measure.
The move is likely to provoke anger within the predominantly liberal Democratic caucus, which says it does not want to vote on the infrastructure bill until it secures the passage of the social protection legislation of $ 3.5 trillion, which President Joe Biden called the Build Back Better Act.
Hoyer said the House would review the Build Back Better legislation “during this shift,” but did not provide a specific date.
The September shift runs until the Columbus Day break which begins October 1, according to the current schedule.
Democrats will first come up with interim funding for the federal government.
Current funding expires September 30, and lawmakers are far behind reviewing FY2022 spending legislation, particularly in the Senate.
Democrats are questioning whether to include in the bill a provision to increase the debt ceiling, which had been suspended for more than a year.
The country’s debt level has reached $ 28.4 trillion.
Republicans oppose an increase in the debt limit, citing reckless spending by Democrats which they say would hurt the economy and fuel inflation.
But GOP lawmakers may have to approve it if Democrats wrap it in emergency funding that will help many states recover from catastrophic summer flooding and hurricane damage, as well as the devastation caused. by forest fires.
The Biden administration has requested $ 24 billion in emergency aid for these disasters, and it is also asking for an additional $ 6.4 billion to help Afghan refugees resettle in the United States.
House Democrats could pass the measure without GOP backing with a simple majority vote, but Senate obstruction rule means 10 Republicans would have to join all Democrats in the upper house to clear the measure for signature by Biden.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, warned Senate Republicans would vote in unison against an increase in the debt ceiling, even if it was tied to federal funding and aid in the event of disaster.
But it would be difficult for GOP lawmakers in stricken states to reject a bill providing essential aid to their constituents.
Several GOP lawmakers have signaled they would consider voting to increase the debt limit if tied to disaster relief, but the measure could still be less than the 10 needed to pass the draft. law.
Democrats say they are considering several options for passing a debt limit increase.
Democrat-led House and Senate committees met this month to push forward the $ 3.5 trillion spending program, but internal differences could delay consideration.
Centrist Democrats in the Senate say the package is too expensive, while other Democrats are unhappy with the tax increases and anti-fuel policies contained in the legislation. Democrats also need Senate parliamentary approval for a provision that would pave the way for citizenship for 8 million illegal immigrants.
The infrastructure package is bipartite and has already been adopted by the Senate. It would fund road, bridge and waterway projects, expanded broadband and new charging stations for electric vehicles.
House Democrats are under pressure to pass the infrastructure measure so Biden can sign it.
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Hoyer said in Friday’s memo that they would fulfill their pledge to get it through by September 27.
Their three-seat majority means they will have to convince Liberal Democrats to allow passage of the bill before considering the $ 3.5 trillion package.
Senate Budget Committee chairman Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent and socialist, told CNN that “it would be a terrible thing if these two bills failed,” and added, “They are linked.”
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Key words: News, Congress, House Democrats, Government Spending, Infrastructure, Abortion
Original author: Susan ferrechio
Original location: House schedules votes on government funding, abortion access and Biden infrastructure package