Congress on Thursday wrestled Washington back from the brink of a government shutdown by voting to continue funding the government through December 3. Joe Biden signed the measure before funding was to run out at midnight. “There’s so much more to do. But the passage of this bill reminds us that bipartisan work is possible and it gives us time to pass longer-term funding to keep our government running and delivering for the American people,” Biden said in a statement. But the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has delayed the vote.
Speaking to MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson said: “It’s either a really good sign or really bad sign and it’s hard to tell.
“What’s different this time I think is that progressives in the house have numbers and they have power and they know they have power.
“I don’t think they’re going to vote for the hard infrastructure bill without a framework for the human infrastructure bill.
“There’s going to have to be a framework and it’s going to have to be something not only which Pelosi can sell but that she can sell to the members.”
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“A great deal of progress has been made this week, and we are closer to an agreement than ever,” said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “But we are not there yet, and so, we will need some additional time to finish the work, starting tomorrow morning first thing.”
Congress earlier on Thursday wrestled Washington back from the brink of a government shutdown by voting to continue funding the government through Dec. 3. Biden signed the measure before funding was to run out at midnight.
“There’s so much more to do. But the passage of this bill reminds us that bipartisan work is possible and it gives us time to pass longer-term funding to keep our government running and delivering for the American people,” Biden said in a statement.
The House approved the measure in a bipartisan 254-175 vote, hours after it passed the Senate by 65-35.
Negotiations on the other legislation stretched into the evening. In a statement to her Democratic colleagues, Pelosi called it a “productive and crucial day” and said discussions continued.
But as the hours stretched on, it became clear no deal was apparent.
Some progressive Democrats have vowed to vote against the bill to invest in the nation’s roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, angry that Democrats have not yet reached an agreement on a multitrillion-dollar companion bill with funding for social services and to address climate change.
Faced with increasingly stiff odds of passing their $3.5 trillion social spending proposal, Biden and his aides are trying to find out what narrower proposal could unite an ideologically fractured Democratic caucus of lawmakers, according to people familiar with the matter.
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Lawmakers on the party’s left flank have said they will not vote for the infrastructure bill unless they feel certain their priorities will be reflected in the social spending bill.
Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar, a leader of House progressives, told reporters: “Nothing has changed with our caucus members. We don’t have the votes to pass infrastructure.”
Moderate Democratic Senator Manchin has proposed a spending package of about $1.5 trillion. Another Democratic moderate, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, declined to say whether she agreed with Manchin’s proposal. She has met with Biden multiple times to discuss the bill.
With razor-thin majorities in Congress, Democrats cannot afford to lose many votes if they want to pass their agenda.