GOP blocks bill to continue government; new attempt ahead

Republican senators blocked Monday night's bill to allow federal borrowing and keep the government running. But Democrats, who sought to avoid a shutdown, pledged to make another attempt -- while continuing to pursue President Joe Biden’s ambitious plans to restructure government.

GOP blocks bill to continue government; new attempt ahead

Although the efforts may not be directly related, the Thursday fiscal yearend deadline for funding the government is a setback to the Democrats' desire and need to move forward on Biden’s massive $3.5 trillion federal overhaul.

All of this makes for a turbulent moment for Biden's party and for Biden himself, with certain consequences that will shape his presidency as well as the futures of his fellow lawmakers.

If Democrats can get Biden's huge bill passed, success would be a significant achievement. Failure, or a highly unlikely shutdown of the government and debt crisis could derail careers.

Biden said Monday that he was a "born optimist" and rolled up his sleeves for a COVID-19 booster shot. "We're going to get it done."

Monday's vote to reject the bill by 48 votes was well short of the 60 required to pass the bill over a GOP filibuster. Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer changed his vote to "no" to permit him to bring the measure back to consideration. He said this would happen this week.

With just days remaining, Democrats indicated that they would try again to pass a bill to fund government operations beyond the Sept. 30 fiscal-yearend. This will allow them to end the ongoing debate about the debt limit and move closer to an October deadline.

The real action behind the scenes is taking place over the $3.5 trillion measure. Biden and his Democratic allies are seeking a once in a generation rework of the nation’s balance sheets.

The president's proposal includes everything from free pre-kindergarten for children with special needs to child care subsidies for parents with young children, to hearing aids and dental care for Medicare seniors, and more. All of this will be paid for by higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

Democrats are determined to win over Republicans, despite their opposition.

According to an anonymous source, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that "we just have to make difficult decisions," to House Democrats at an evening caucus meeting. This was according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to keep the private session secret.

Pelosi stated that the president is working on "that piece" as the overall price tag falls. This refers to the ongoing talks with the Senate. Pelosi stated that the House Democrats wouldn't move forward with a bill until they have received approval from their Senate colleagues, despite the rush to get votes. She said, "We are not there yet."

As he left the caucus meeting, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the chairman of Way & Means Committee said that as momentum builds towards Thursday, he was expecting a new total: "Let’s pop the number."

Biden seeks major spending to address climate change, education, and health care. This is in addition to a $1 trillion bipartisan package for public works that has already passed the Senate. He claims that the total cost is "zero" and will be covered by an expected increase in tax revenue.

In an effort to find common ground and implement his expansive domestic policy vision, he is calling fellow Democrats in Congress.

Biden added that the country would be in great shape if it met all the deadlines and ticked off the long list of goals.

The White House read out the conference call and stated that Schumer, Pelosi, and Biden discussed the future path and would "continue their close coordination in the coming days."

Republicans argue that it is real spending that cannot be afforded. This is a reflection on the Democrats' desire to insert government in people's lives.

The bill is too large for key Democrats, whose votes are required in the face the GOP opposition. Sens. Senators. Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Silema from Arizona have both said that they wouldn't support such a large bill. Manchin previously suggested spending between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion.

Progressive lawmakers claimed they have already made compromises with more centrist Democrats. However, one possible development was that Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus confirmed that she and Sinema had been in discussions.

All Republicans opposed, Democratic leaders cannot spare one vote in the 50-50 Senate. They rely on Vice President Kamala Harris for breaking a tie to pass any eventual package.

This all happens as there are other deadlines this week to pay government operations, allow more borrowing, or risk a catastrophic federal shutdown or default. However, these dire scenarios seem unlikely.

Monday night's bill that Senate Republicans rejected would have temporarily funded government operations, up to December 1, while also providing emergency funds to Hurricane Ida relief, as well as for Afghan refugees.

Republican leader Mitch McConnell resisted this approach, as Democrats included a provision to suspend debt limits. This would allow for continued borrowing to pay the nation's bills.

While once a routine issue, raising the debt limit has become a political weapon used by Republicans to attack Democrats.

Schumer said that the Democrats would do the responsible thing, which is the right thing, and vote yes.

He called the Republican opposition "unhinged."

McConnell stated that he wants the government to be funded and to prevent a catastrophic default on the debt. However, McConnell wants Democrats to split the package and vote for the politically unfavorable debt ceiling.

He said that "Republicans don't want a shutdown" or a breach of the debt limit.

The House began debate on the public works bill late Monday. While it received bipartisan support in Senate, House Republican leaders are hesitant to support it. Donald Trump is voicing opposition to the bill. He was the ex-president who attempted and failed to secure infrastructure deals while he was at the White House.

Pelosi and House Democrats gathered in private Monday to discuss Biden's larger package. It was evident that she is pushing ahead to get it done as quickly as possible.

Biden's proposal calls for raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 26.5% for businesses making more than $5million a year and increasing the top rate for individuals from 37% - 39.6% for those who earn more than $400,000 per year. This would also pay for $450,000 for couples.

Although Democrats generally agree on Biden’s vision, many Democrats ran their campaigns on longstanding party priorities. However, there are still disputes about how to push for cleaner energy and lower prescription drug prices.

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