WASHINGTON — Democrats find themselves between a rock and hard place over spending in Congress. Between the discussion over the debt ceiling and infrastructure, a stalemate is hitting a crucial friction point this week.
Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer is planning to bring a measure to suspend the debt ceiling up for a vote this week, but it is unlikely to pass as it needs 60 votes to move past the Senate filibuster and not enough Republicans are voicing support.
If the debt limit is not raised this week the country will go into default on its debt.
“Raising the debt limit is a bipartisan responsibility,” said Rep Andre Carson (D-IN-07) on Twitter. “Republicans have voted to raise it in the past, in part to pay for their tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy. Now that Dems are in charge & trying to help the middle class, they are opposed. Their double standard is disappointing.”
As the debt limit discussion continues in the Senate, the whole of Congress is at a stalemate over a $3.5 trillion social spending bill. But the bulk of the stalemate is among progressive and moderate Democrats.
“You’ve got Joe Manchin cutting backroom deals with Chuck Schumer in the Senate, which upsets Bernie Sanders,” said Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN-03) on Fox News. “You’ve got Sen. Sinema yesterday saying that she’s frustrated because she can’t take the Democratic leadership’s word either.”
The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate earlier this year was passed with the support of Manchin and Sinema and many bipartisan Republicans. The same will likely happen in the House, but holding things up is the insistence of progressive Democrats that the infrastructure bill and the social spending bill be linked together.
It’s this insistence, along with the social spending bill’s price tag, that has Manchin and Sinema saying no. They are all that stand in the way of the bill moving out of the Senate.
“That’s why these guys are so frustrated,” said Banks of the moderate Democrats. “They know that the majority of America does not want this country to become a socialist country.”
President Biden is optimistic that both bills will pass, even if they have to pass them separately.