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As Government Shutdown Looms, Biden’s Legislative Agenda Hangs in the Balance

HeadlineSep 30, 2021

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate will vote today on a short-term spending bill that would fund the government into early December, in a last-minute bid to avert a disastrous government shutdown before a midnight deadline. The vote comes as Democratic leaders struggle to pass two major pieces of legislation: a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act, a $3.5 trillion, 10-year package that would expand the social safety net and combat climate change. On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer huddled with President Biden in the Oval Office, as fractures within the Democratic Party threatened to derail Biden’s legislative agenda.

Meanwhile, House Democrats have narrowly approved a bill to suspend the ceiling on the national debt until the end of 2022. The Treasury Department warns that without congressional action, the U.S. will begin defaulting on its debts in mid-October. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday the consequences would be catastrophic.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “The nonpartisan Moody’s Analytics found that these consequences could include a loss of 6 million jobs, the elimination of potentially $15 trillion in household wealth, sending the unemployment rate surging to 9% and a decline in the real GDP of our country by 4%.”

After headlines, we’ll speak with Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign.

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