US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi postponed a planned Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure legislation amid attempts to strike a deal between progressive and moderate Democrats on the biggest portion of President Joe Biden’s agenda.
The House will reconvene Friday morning in an attempt to vote on the infrastructure Bill with $550 billion in new spending for roads, bridges and broadband that was passed by the Senate with bipartisan support earlier this year. The Senate in a bipartisan August vote passed the $1-trillion Bill, which includes funds for roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Moderates had pushed for a vote this week while progressives insisted they would not approve the bill without agreement on a companion bill that Senate Democrats intend to pass without Republican votes.
With razor-thin majorities in Congress, Biden’s Democrats need almost total unity to pass legislation. Republicans are unlikely to help, eager to deny Biden a policy victory ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, when history favors their chances to recapture majorities.
Faced with stiff odds of passing their $3.5 trillion social spending proposal, Biden and his aides are trying to find out what narrower proposal could unite lawmakers.
Debt ceiling threat
In yet another high-stakes battle, congressional Democrats and Republicans continue brawling over giving the Treasury Department additional borrowing authority beyond the current statutory limit of $28.4 trillion. A historic US debt default could occur around October 18, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has estimated, if Congress fails to act.
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