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Moment of truth for U.S. Congress on government funding, debt, Biden agenda By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – An American flag is seen flying outside the U.S. Capitol dome, Washington, U.S.A, January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress faces a showdown on Monday over government spending and debt, opening a week that could also include action on President Joe Biden’s sweeping social agenda if Democrats can resolve internal divisions about the package.

On Monday, the Senate will vote procedurally on legislation passed by the House of Representatives. It would fund the U.S. through December 3, and temporarily suspend the country’s borrowing limit to the end of 2022.

Democrats must find another solution to allow the government to continue to function beyond the expiration of current funding on Thursday if Republicans oppose the measure. To avoid default, lawmakers will also need to find a way to increase the debt ceiling.

Democrats want to steer clear of such drama, as they attempt to show competence following four years under Republican Donald Trump. Bipartisan Policy Center stated that Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department would likely run out of borrowing authority between Oct. 15th and Nov. 4.

House Democrats face a vote to approve a $1 trillion bill for infrastructure funding. The Senate passed the bill with strong Republican support. It will be used to fund roads, schools, bridges, airports, and other projects.

House moderates requested that Speaker Nancy Pelosi vote on the bill last Monday. Progressives opposed the request, saying the chamber should not take up the bill until it is settled on a $3.5 trillion larger social spending bill.

Pelosi stated that the 1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill would be up for vote in the chamber on Thursday, as she said Sunday.

In a note to her colleagues, Pelosi stated that “Tomorrow September 27th, we will start debate on Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework at the Floor of Congress and vote on it Thursday, September 30.”

Pelosi stated earlier on Sunday that she wouldn’t bring the bill up for a vote until it was passed, but expressed confidence in its prospects.

She stated that she would pass the bill “this week” to ABC News’ “This Week”, referring to the crucial legislation to Biden’s economic agenda.

The Democratic presidential’s efforts on every aspect of healthcare, education and fighting climate change and child poverty are at risk as Democrats fight over the package’s cost and content.

Democrats are arguing over the drug pricing provisions of their social spending plan. They hope it will pass with narrow majority and without Republican support. Moderate Democrats such as Senators Joe Manchin or Kyrsten sinema see the $3.5 billion price tag to be too high. Democratic leaders say the measure will only be funded by tax hikes on wealthy corporations.

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