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Democratic disagreements imperil Biden agenda as shutdown looms

Stock MarketsSep 29, 2021 08:37PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo 2/2

By David Morgan and Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden's agenda was at risk of being derailed by divisions among his own Democrats, as moderates voiced anger on Wednesday at the idea of delaying a $1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of a critical vote to avert a government shutdown.

The White House said talks over twin bills that would revitalize the nation's roads and airports and fund social programs and climate change measures, were at a "precarious" point as moderates and progressives disagreed over the scope of some $4 trillion in spending.

Congress, which Democrats control by a razor-thin margin, is due to vote on a bipartisan resolution to fund federal operations through early December before funding expires at midnight on Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has scheduled votes on the measure beginning on Thursday morning, leaving plenty of time for the House of Representatives to act.

The House is also expected to vote on Thursday on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill already passed by the Senate with bipartisan support, although some party leaders warned that vote could be delayed again - which would dismay moderates.

Representative Stephanie Murphy, a moderate Democrat who backs the infrastructure bill, warned against defeat or delay of the legislation.

"If the vote were to fail tomorrow or be delayed, there would be a significant breach of trust that would slow the momentum in moving forward in delivering the Biden agenda," she told reporters on Wednesday.

With House progressives warning they will vote against the infrastructure bill until a deal is reached on the separate multitrillion-dollar plan focused on social spending and climate, the vote was not guaranteed.

"The only way the vote happens (Thursday) is if we have the votes to pass the bill," Representative Dan Kildee, House Democrats' chief deputy whip, told reporters.

WHITE HOUSE HUDDLE

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Schumer went to the White House on Wednesday afternoon to meet Biden, a former senator himself, who canceled a trip to Chicago to lead negotiations with Congress.

"We're obviously at a precarious and important time," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.

A White House staffer met at the Capitol with moderate Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who has expressed deep concern over the size of Biden's plans and has the power to block them due to the Democrats' narrow control of the Senate.

If the resolution to fund the government passes the Senate, the House could vote quickly to send the measure to Biden to sign into law, averting a partial government shutdown in the midst of a national health crisis. Biden's Democrats campaigned on a platform of responsible government after Republican Donald Trump's turbulent four years in office.

Republican Senator John Cornyn expressed optimism on Wednesday.

"Democrats don't want to shut down the government. Republicans don't want to shut down the government. That will supply the result that we all expect, which is to keep the lights on," he told a news conference.

Senate Democrats have tried to pass legislation that both funds the government and heads off a potentially catastrophic federal government default by raising the nation's $28.4 trillion debt ceiling. But they have been thwarted by Republicans who want Democrats to use a parliamentary maneuver to act alone on the debt limit issue.

The government will hit the ceiling around Oct. 18, an event that could cause a historic default with long-lasting economic fallout and implications for financial markets.

Schumer has demanded bipartisan cooperation on the issue, arguing that it addresses debts racked up during both Democratic and Republican administrations.

The House passed a bill on Wednesday suspending the limit through December 2022, by a mostly partisan vote. It now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to be blocked by Republicans again.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) this month described the standoff as "the riskiest debt-limit deadline in a decade."

RECONCILIATION

Several senior Democrats have said the $3.5 trillion "reconciliation" bill - so-called because it is being drawn up under a budgetary procedure to avoid Senate rules requiring 60 votes out of 100 members for passage - will need to be scaled back to pass.

Moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he believed it would take weeks to reach agreement.

"I cannot – and will not - support trillions in spending or an all-or-nothing approach that ignores the brutal fiscal reality our nation faces," he said in a lengthy statement late on Wednesday afternoon.

"There is a better way and I believe we can find it if we are willing to continue to negotiate in good faith."

He did not say, however, what he could support.

House Democrats urged Manchin and Sinema to say publicly what they want.

"They need to come up with their counteroffer and then we sit down and negotiate from there," said Representative Pramila Jayapal, chair of the House Progressive (NYSE:PGR) Caucus.

Democratic disagreements imperil Biden agenda as shutdown looms
 

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Comments (19)
John Laurens
John Laurens Sep 29, 2021 10:51PM ET
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The implosion of a regime founded on lying, cheating, stealing, fascism, Marxism, communism, and an unending hatred for the country.. Dems are traitors plain and simple.
Jose Maderno
Jose Maderno Sep 29, 2021 9:36PM ET
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Why does https://investing,com employ Reuters at all?  Just showing pictures of the scrawlings on bathroom walls would provide as much truthful information as Reuters provides in a week.
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam Sep 29, 2021 8:55PM ET
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2022 elections are not far away. Democrats become Republican and Republicans become Democrats. Every one is just covering their own
Fred Smith
Fred Smith Sep 29, 2021 8:41PM ET
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Lunatics will never agree to anything because there is always something in USA to destroy.
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Sep 29, 2021 8:10PM ET
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Why are they renaming this article and post it again?
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Sep 29, 2021 8:10PM ET
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probably because it's getting a lot of comments
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Sep 29, 2021 7:36PM ET
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Those who voted for this administration thought that they were voting for a moderate president. Instead, you all got Bernie Sanders on steroids with dementia. What y'all think about it ? We'd like to hear more of your thoughts
Klaus Weyers
Klaus Weyers Sep 29, 2021 5:32PM ET
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turnulent under Trump seems a lot better than completely incompetent under sleepy Joe.. scott Morrison is the name of your pal down under.. unreal
Montgomery Lindeen
Montgomery Lindeen Sep 29, 2021 4:15PM ET
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Welll good job democrats… you are running around crazy just to get us more debt what?!
Mart Bab
Rubberduck1973 Sep 29, 2021 1:51PM ET
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This time it’s different. To much divide. Buy gold. Crash is imminent
Green Mango
Green Mango Sep 29, 2021 1:22PM ET
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Fake News: 1.  Debt ceiling needs to be raised.  FALSE...spending can be cut.  2.  There will be "default" if the spenders don't increase debt. FALSE .  Debt service is a small fraction of government revenue.  They just need to prioritize like the rest of us.  Do you pay your mortgage or buy a new boat if you have to choose?  3.  They need to spend to "fix" things.  FALSE.  Try controlling border flows of millions of "refugees" which cost us billions.  4.  CO2 emissions "cause" climate change.  FALSE  No such science has been proven or even well evidenced.   It is computer model nonsense based on a hypothesis.  This is political science, not fact.
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Sep 29, 2021 12:27PM ET
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Rename the article.  They rush not to fund the goverment, they rush to get more debt.
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Sep 29, 2021 12:24PM ET
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"climate change" ( the continuing destruction of the planet's biosphere) STILL the LAST priority. So sad.
Keith Wilson
Keith Wilson Sep 29, 2021 12:24PM ET
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Right now it should be there last priority, or at least not their first priority. Where is the money for climate change going to come from if you dont have a functioning government? Use your brain
Green Mango
Green Mango Sep 29, 2021 12:24PM ET
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Have some more of that pop science cool aide Alan
Green Mango
Green Mango Sep 29, 2021 12:24PM ET
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Keith Wilson  Childs brain, best they can do
Miriam Morkhul
Miriam Morkhul Sep 29, 2021 12:13PM ET
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The constant turbulance during Trumps presidency was the (fake) media. Never before seen cut throat tactics and smear campaigns. Not a single positive word. It was because he put the US first. Like all heads of state should.
Keith Wilson
Keith Wilson Sep 29, 2021 12:13PM ET
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Puppet Liberals will never see it that way. They do and think what they're told to do and think.
Mike Mike
Mike Mike Sep 29, 2021 12:04PM ET
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If US defaults, can banks evict biden from WH?
Ethel Basset
Ethel Basset Sep 29, 2021 11:34AM ET
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Mobilization to waste money.
James Pattison
James Pattison Sep 29, 2021 11:08AM ET
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Democrats could pass a budget at any moment… they have majorities… but if they do… they will own it at the ballot box… which they cheat to win at
John Wim
John Wim Sep 29, 2021 10:53AM ET
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The writer is saying that we had 4 years of turbulant government under DT. I think we have had more turbulance with Biden than all 4 years under DT
Green Mango
Green Mango Sep 29, 2021 10:53AM ET
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They caused the "turbulence" of BLM and Antifa riots.  These are the militant wing of the Dem party
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Sep 29, 2021 10:39AM ET
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I wish I could pick my own credit limit, rather than have to control my spending.
James Pattison
James Pattison Sep 29, 2021 10:39AM ET
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And fhen we could vote to increase it with a mjprity in our house… what would it look like of the congress went to the grocery store… and then turned to person behind them and told them to pay for ot at the check out line
Green Mango
Green Mango Sep 29, 2021 10:39AM ET
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Leave, get a really good tan, come across the southern border, do not speak English.  Everything free
Montgomery Lindeen
Montgomery Lindeen Sep 29, 2021 10:39AM ET
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Green Mango  It’s horrible indeed
Stephen Willis
Stephen Willis Sep 29, 2021 10:30AM ET
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tough luck Democrats
 
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