Congress returns after Thanksgiving with time running out to avoid December 3 shutdown, prevent defaulting on debts by the 15th and for Dems to get Biden’s $1.75T bill through the Senate
- Congress returns to Washington this week after Thanksgiving break with two deadlines looming
- They must pass a new spending bill by Friday to avert a government shutdown and pass fresh debt ceiling legislation by December 15
- And while President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill passed the House before the break, now the Senate must pick it up
Congress returns to Washington this week after Thanksgiving break with two deadlines looming – they must pass a new spending bill by Friday to avert a government shutdown and pass fresh debt ceiling legislation by December 15.
The most urgent matter is the funding bill, with House leaders expected to introduce a stopgap measure that would fund the government through late January, according to Punchbowl News.
The House of Representatives returns Tuesday and a stop-gap spending bill is expected to be introduced on the floor that day, with a potential vote Wednesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at an event last week in San Francisco during the Thanksgiving recess
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (left) must get Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (right) on board to pass a continuing resolution that would fund the government through mid-January in order to avoid a government shutdown on Friday
The short-term fix would be introduced when the House returns Tuesday and would fund the government through January 21 or 28.
The House could vote as early as Wednesday on the measure, which would need to pass the Senate by Friday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would need to agree to the deal so Senate Democrats can avoid a GOP-led filibuster, but Punchbowl reported that’s likely to happen as a shutdown ‘doesn’t serve anyone’s political needs.’
That being said, funding measures that need to be sorted out include money for unaccompanied children taken into U.S. custody and for Afghan refugees being held at military bases, Punchbowl said.
Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Congressional leaders that the federal government had more time than her initial estimate on when it would default on its debt.
Yellen had originally estimated the country wouldn’t be able to pay its bills after December 3 – the same day the spending bill needs to be passed by – but a revised estimate put that closer to December 15.
Still, lawmakers haven’t figured out what piece of legislation they’ll attach a debt ceiling hike to.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had suggested adding it to the National Defense Authorization Act, which Congress also needs to pass, but that idea didn’t play well with House Democrats nor Senate Republicans.
McConnell has long suggested Democrats add a debt ceiling component to the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill, which will be passed through the Senate using the process of reconciliation, thus bypassing a Republican filibuster and only using Democratic votes.
Democrats have argued that the debt ceiling should be lifted by members of both parties.
It’s also not expected to be added to the stop-gap spending bill, even though that would allow Congress to get both items out of the way.
Schumer has said he wants to see Biden’s Build Back Better bill passed through the Senate by Christmas, but some of what was included in the House is making it difficult to get by moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.
The House version of the bill included paid family leave, which Manchin objected to.
Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive senators also weren’t happy that the House bill included a SALT provision, allowing Americans to write-off state and local taxes – considered a boon for the rich.