WASHINGTON, September 27, 2021 (AFP) — The United States Congress prepares to spend several long nights in plenary session this week, facing critical deadlines and debate to determine the federal government’s historic spending levels.
The list of urgent actions for Democrats, who control the House and Senate, includes preventing the federal government from stalling due to a lack of funds, preventing a catastrophic credit default, and securing the complicated passage of two big budget bills. .
– Government shutdown – Congress has until midnight Thursday to pass a new federal budget if it wants to avoid sudden funding cuts.
The shutdown of federal services, known as government “shutdowns”, regularly disrupts American political life.
This time, both Democrats and Republicans agree that the pause should be avoided. But Democrats want to address the problem with a bill that also removes the country’s debt cap, which Republicans will not support.
– Debt limit – The United States will reach its debt limit in less than a month, a catastrophe that would mean the first ‘default’ of the US debt, sinking the country and the world’s economy.
To avoid this, Congress would have to expand the debt limit.
But Republicans refused to lift the debt limit because, they say, it would give President Joe Biden carte blanche for his “irresponsible” plans. In this scenario, they encourage Democrats to pass text with only the votes of supporters of the president, who controls Congress.
Democrats, however, point out that the process is often bipartisan, arguing that both sides should be held responsible for lifting the debt limit, especially as it was already supported by Republicans during Donald Trump’s presidency. Will cover expenses, who stepped down in January. .
– Infrastructure works – Roads, bridges, schools, transportation, but also high-speed internet: Biden’s project to invest $1.2 trillion, including $550 billion in new spending in unsustainable infrastructure of the United States in August was initially approved by the Senate. .
At the time, a third of Republican senators voted with Democrats to pass the bill.
The final vote is to be held on Thursday in the House of Representatives, where Democrats have a modest majority.
But in the far left wing of the Democratic Party, some 50 lawmakers have threatened to back the second part of Biden’s bigger projects if they don’t get a firm commitment by Thursday: a massive plan to invest in social reform.
– Social reforms – Better access to education, health and childcare, but massive investments in tackling climate change: The so-called “Build Back Better” is a cornerstone of the Biden administration’s program with which it promises to transform the United States.
Republicans are vehemently opposed to the Titanic bill, which would cost a record $3.5 trillion.
Therefore, the Democrats have chosen a legislative path that would allow them to adopt it by their own votes. But most of them are so fragile in both houses that they can hardly afford to be deserted.
There are currently large differences between the progressive and liberal wing within the party, and it could still take weeks for lawmakers to agree on a final bill.