President Biden is expected to host a series of meetings on Wednesday with Democratic lawmakers, including party leaders, as he works to keep his party united around its $4 trillion economic agenda and to resolve deep divisions over its policy proposals.
He is expected to meet with California President Nancy Pelosi and New York Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as lawmakers from across the ideological range of his caucus, according to people familiar with the plans, which they revealed. on condition of anonymity.
The wave of meetings comes as both strands of its economic agenda — a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a second, comprehensive $3.5 trillion economic package that supporters plan to push through with only Democratic votes — are coming into effect. appear to be in danger as moderate and liberal Democrats attempt to influence a narrowly divided Congress.
Liberal Democrats remain adamant that a majority of their ranks will block a planned Sept. 27 vote on the infrastructure bill passed by the Senate earlier this year until the $3.5 trillion package first passes the Senate through the rapid reconciliation process. passes.
For weeks, those in that wing of the party have insisted that their support for the infrastructure package depends on the scope and success of the larger package, which carries most of their aspirations but needs the support of virtually every Democrat in Congress. order a Republican filibuster and take it to Mr. Biden’s desk.
As the potential stalemate developed, Washington State Representative Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, emerged from a 90-minute meeting with Ms. Pelosi on Tuesday. Ms. Jayapal said she had asked the meeting to reiterate that “we need to be absolutely sure it gets passed in the Senate, and so that’s still our position.”
But moderates, who prompted House Democratic leaders to vote in favor of the infrastructure bill on Sept. 27, remained confident that their liberal counterparts would eventually back the package. The much more comprehensive economic package has not been completed, with Democrats bickering over the plan’s scope and structure.
“This is critical to the White House,” said Representative Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat and one of the moderates who pushed for that commitment. “I am optimistic that we will not only get it on the ground, but also get the votes.”
When the United States’ most restrictive abortion law went into effect in Texas on Sept. 1, it worked exactly as intended: It essentially stopped all abortions in the second-most populous state.
But his very ingenuity—that ordinary citizens, not state officials, enforce it—has begun to unleash lawsuits beyond the control of the anti-abortion movement that fought for the law.
On Monday, a man in Arkansas and another in Illinois, both suspended attorneys with no apparent association with anti-abortion activists, filed separate lawsuits in state court against a San Antonio doctor who wrote publicly about performing an abortion. The lawsuits appear to be the first legal action taken under the bill, known as Senate Act 8, which replaces private individuals — wherever they live — to sue doctors or anyone else who becomes an abortionist after an embryo or fetal heart activity. detected.
Legal experts said these lawsuits are the most likely way to resolve the constitutionality of the Texas law, which has passed legal tests to date. Two other sweeping challenges filed in federal court by abortion providers and the Department of Justice raise difficult procedural questions.
The law’s unique enforcement mechanism, designed to evade judicial review, invites individuals to sue anyone involved in the proceeding, except the pregnant woman. If plaintiffs win, they would receive $10,000 and have their legal costs covered.
From the perspective of the anti-abortion movement, neither of the two men indicted this week is an ideal plaintiff. Arkansas man Oscar Stilley, who described himself in his lawsuit as a “suspended and disgraced” attorney, said he was “not pro-life” and just wanted to “justify” the law. The Illinois man, Felipe N. Gomez, described himself in his complaint as a “pro-choice plaintiff.”
“These out-of-state lawsuits are not what the bill is intended for,” said Chelsey Youman, the Texas state director and national legislative adviser to Human Coalition, an anti-abortion group that said it had no plans to file a lawsuit against the doctor, dr. Alan Braid, or to encourage others to do so.
The House on Tuesday passed legislation to keep the government funded until early December, lift the cap on federal loans until the end of 2022 and provide emergency money to Afghan refugees and natural disaster recovery, and mount a fiscal showdown as Republicans warn that they will pass the measure in the Senate.
The bill is urgently needed to prevent the government from shutting down next week and defaulting for the first time next month, each time the Treasury Department reaches the limit of its lending authority. But it has become entangled in partisan politics, with Republicans refusing to raise a debt ceiling at a time when Democrats control Congress and the White House.
By tying the debt cap increase to the spending package, Democrats hoped to pressure Republicans to drop their opposition to raising the debt ceiling, a routine move that would allow the government to meet its obligations. But even with critical funding for some of their states at stake, no Republicans voted for the legislation.
The bill passed with only Democratic votes in the closely divided House, 220 to 211.
And the prospects for passage into the 50-50 Senate seemed bleak, as Republicans vowed not to vote for the legislation nor allow it to pass in the chamber, where 60 votes are needed to move it forward.
The legislation would extend government funding through December 3, giving lawmakers more time to negotiate the 12 annual spending bills, which would otherwise be on track to expire when the new fiscal year begins October 1. The package would also raise $6.3 billion to help Afghan refugees resettle in the United States and $28.6 billion to help communities rebuild from hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.
“It’s critical that Congress passes this legislation quickly to support essential education, health, housing and public safety programs and provide emergency relief to disaster survivors and Afghan evacuees,” said Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro, the president of Connecticut. the credit committee.
But Democratic leaders’ decision to tie it to legislation lifting the federal debt cap until December 16, 2022 could ultimately jeopardize a typically routine attempt to avert a government shutdown, raising the threat of fiscal disaster. gets bigger.
Led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, Republicans have been warning for weeks that they had no intention of helping Democrats raise the limit on the Treasury Department’s ability to borrow. While the debt was incurred with the approval of both parties, Mr. McConnell has repeatedly pointed to Democrats’ efforts to get multi-trillion dollar bills into law over the Republican opposition.
Republicans have said they would support the package if there is no debt ceiling. As soon as the House vote ended, Mr. McConnell and Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate credit committee, unveiled their own financing legislation, without including raising the debt ceiling.
Democrats, who joined Republicans during the Trump administration to raise the debt ceiling, have argued that the GOP is setting a double standard that threatens to sabotage the economy. Should the government default on its debt for the first time, it would trigger a financial crisis, shake confidence in US creditworthiness and shrink the stock market.
Democrats, who have a slim majority in every chamber, cannot afford to lose many votes. That narrow margin in part led Democratic leaders to cut a provision that provided the Israeli government $1 billion for its Iron Dome air defense system against short-range missiles, according to a person notified of the decision, citing opposition from some liberal democrats.
The decision to jettison it for now infuriated some moderates in their ranks and sparked a flurry of Republican criticism. But Maryland’s Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday that he would introduce a bill later in the week to provide that funding, with the House Rules suspended.
“That’s what I was for, I’m still for it — we should do it,” Mr Hoyer said on the House floor, adding that earlier in the day with Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister, had spoken and his commitment to see to it that it would purge the Chamber. Senate Republicans included the provision in their own version of the spending package, which was released late Tuesday.