Congress has approved a bill to extend federal funding into early December, averting a government shutdown just hours before a midnight deadline Thursday. The stopgap measure won the support of enough Republicans to pass only after Democrats agreed to drop a provision that would suspend a limit on the national debt. Without action on the debt ceiling, the U.S. could default on its loans in mid-October.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed a planned vote Thursday on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill amid fractures in the Democratic Party over the Build Back Better Act, a 10-year, $3.5 trillion package to expand the social safety net and combat climate change. West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin told reporters Thursday he’d only accept a 10-year, $1.5 trillion social safety net bill.
Sen. Joe Manchin: “My top line has been 1.5, because I believe in my heart that what we can do and what the needs we have right now and what we can afford to do, without basically changing our whole society to an entitlement mentality.”
Progressive Democrats say they won’t vote for an infrastructure bill until Senate Democrats move on a reconciliation bill containing the Biden administration’s top legislative priorities. Representative Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tweeted, “By allowing one bill to advance without the Build Back Better Act alongside it, we leave behind childcare, paid leave, health care, climate action, education, and a roadmap to citizenship. We’re not going to leave working people, families, and our communities behind.”