With several critical deadlines and his economic and domestic policy agenda on the line this week, President Biden showed a lack of confidence that Congress would be able to pass his two spending bills along with a government funding measure by the end of the week but expressed optimism despite Democrats infighting.
“It may not be by the end of the week. I hope it’s by the end of the week,” Biden told reporters after receiving his third COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. “But as long as we’re still alive, we’ve got three things to do: The debt ceiling, continuing resolution, and the two pieces of legislation. If we do that, the country is going to be in great shape.”
Democrats in Congress face a series of contentious votes this week on Capitol Hill as every piece of Biden’s agenda is on the line. That includes passing a government funding measure with the provision in raising the debt ceiling before funding runs out at the end of the week. In addition to the House is expected Thursday to vote the Senate-passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, a vote initially scheduled to be voted on Monday until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) delayed the vote. Democrats also hope to bring the $3.5 trillion Biden’s “Build Back Better” social-spending bill that includes domestic priorities such as child care, health care, and climate investments.
Biden expressed optimism when asked how close a deal on a reconciliation spending bill would be reached amongst his party but noted that he has upcoming meetings on his legislation priorities scheduled all this week.
“You know me. I’m a born optimist, and I think things are going to go well. I think we’re going to get it done and I, but, have meetings tonight, tomorrow and — and for the next little bit,” Biden said.
Biden’s schedule throughout this week is mostly wide open, a move the White House planned as intentional. Biden officials said that the president would be certainly working the phone, and a trip to Capitol Hill may even be in the cards.
When asked what’s at stake for his presidency and his key legislative agenda, Biden replied that “victory is at stake.”
Earlier Monday, the White House sent a memo to Democratic lawmakers reminding them that Biden’s “Build Back Better agenda is massively popular among all voters.”
The Senate is scheduled to votes Monday night on the House legislation to fund the government through December 3 and suspend the debt limit to December 2022. However, this vote is expected to fail as Senate Republicans are opposed to raising the debt ceiling in the government funding stopgap.
Democrats will have three days to fund the government. There is no public Plan B at the moment, but multiple sources told The Floridian that they expect to ditch the debt ceiling suspension provision, just to pass the continuing resolution to fund the government for the next two months.
Meanwhile, in the House, Pelosi will hold a meeting for House Democrats Monday night as Democratic leaders continue to rally their caucus to have a unified front ahead of votes. For weeks, moderates and progressives have been engaging in public infighting, causing delays as they scramble this week to pass Biden’s key economic and domestic spending agenda by the end of the month. The spending package faces opposition in the Senate not only from Republicans but also Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who both have voiced reservations to the $3.5 trillion price tag.