“Democrats are Nowhere” on Spending Agreement

President Biden is expected to sign an eight-week debt limit hike today, but most of Washington’s other current crises remain at a standstill. Punchbowl says “Democrats are nowhere right now.” Speaker Pelosi has set an October 31 deadline for passage of both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a Democratic-only social spending and climate bill — but even Democrats can’t agree on what should be in that bill or how much it should cost.

Says Punchbowl: “No one in the House or Senate leadership could give us any timetable on Tuesday other than to say they were ‘working on it.’” Meanwhile, bad roads are leaving Americans stuck in traffic, levees are failing, and goods are stuck in ports as the holiday shopping season approaches.

While progressives balk at any reconciliation package totaling less than $3.5 trillion, the White House is working with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to figure out what dollar amount can win their support — which is vital, because any bill will need all 50 Senate Democrats to pass. Politico reports that Sinema says she has told Biden what she wants, but she is keeping it to herself. The problem, according to a Politico source: “Manchin and Sinema want very different things, both in terms of revenue and programs.”

It’s very hard to see how this all gets resolved by Halloween — especially since Congress isn’t even in session this week. But Biden can take a much-needed win right now by getting Pelosi to call a standalone vote on infrastructure this month.

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