Expectations of an 11th-hour deal that would get at least some of Joe Biden’s spending priorities over the finish line were all but extinguished last night. House Democrats stripped out all new spending and passed a futile, stand-alone bill that would suspend the debt ceiling until the beginning of December. That bill is dead on arrival in the Senate, as there are no GOP votes for it and it’s a bit late to start talking about reconciliation now, with a government shutdown looming at midnight tonight. I was watching the CNN chyron this morning and saw a six-word headline that seemed to encapsulate the mood of the morning show hosts. “Biden agenda on verge of implosion.”
What happens next is something that most analysts without Democratic stars in their eyes have been predicting for a while now. There will be a temporary funding bill passed in the Senate today that will do nothing but keep the lights on and does not raise the debt ceiling. That one is expected to pass on a bipartisan basis and Nancy Pelosi should be able to get it through the House on the first try. But all that’s going to do is keep things running until the federal government runs out of money, which is expected to happen in two or three weeks. (Associated Press)
Congress is moving to avert one crisis while putting off another with the Senate poised to approve legislation that would fund the federal government into early December.
The House is expected to approve the measure following the Senate vote Thursday, preventing a partial government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins Friday.
Democrats were forced to remove a suspension of the federal government’s borrowing limit from the bill at the insistence of Republicans. If the debt limit isn’t raised by Oct. 18, the country would likely face a financial crisis and economic recession, says Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
So that buys us a few weeks at most. But what happens next? Nancy Pelosi is still making noises about putting the infrastructure bill through, but the Progressive Caucus still hasn’t blinked and they don’t appear ready to do so. Would she really send that one to the floor only to be shot down by the Squad and their friends? As Allahpundit already pointed out, congressional tradition tells us that the progressives could still walk into the White House today and offer Joe Biden a deal he can’t refuse and they might pass something. But I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it.
As to the future of the massive, $3.5 trillion spending bonanza, it’s looking further away than ever at this point. We’ve now heard once again from King Joseph of West Virginia, and he’s saying that if the Hyde Amendment isn’t in the bill, he’s going to sink it. (The Democrats have retooled the healthcare portion of the reconciliation package into a “Medicaid-like program” that kills the Hyde Amendment.) And even if it’s in there, he’s still refusing to vote for a number that large when there are so many other priorities that need to be funded. (National Review)
National Review: Senator, you’ve been very firm on keeping the Hyde amendment on the appropriations bills. Are you concerned about that issue at all in reconciliation—
NR: —with this new Medicaid program?
Manchin: Yeah, we’re not taking the Hyde amendment off. Hyde’s going to be on.
National Review: In the new Medicaid program?
Manchin: It has to be. It has to be. That’s dead on arrival if that’s gone.
So if they get the infrastructure deal through without the reconciliation bill (which the Progressive Caucus is still insisting won’t happen as of this morning), does that bring Sinema back to the table? Maybe? But even then it’s far from a certainty. Like Manchin, she’s still saying that the total price tag is far too high. But none of the Democrats have made a serious effort to craft a more stripped-down version of the bill or a longer-term spending plan. Perhaps that CNN chyron I mentioned above wasn’t all that hyperbolic after all. This really is starting to look like an implosion.