WASHINGTON, D.C. – With under 24 hours to go before a U.S. government shutdown, lawmakers are facing an uncertain timeline over key votes on a spending bill and President Biden’s physical infrastructure package.
Senate Democrats on Wednesday are working on short-term spending bill that would fund the government through December 3 and avoid a government shutdown Thursday at midnight. They have dropped the proposed debt ceiling increase in order to gain Republican support and reach the required 60-votes for it to pass.
“We’re not asking Republicans to support raising the debt ceiling,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said during a floor speech Wednesday.
“About whether Republicans would support a clean continuation of funding, the answer is there would be a lot of votes for that,” Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), the top Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, told CNN on Sunday.
The bill – known as a continuing resolution on Congress – would then have to go back to the U.S. House, where it passed along party lines last week.
“Democrats control the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and the White House,” said Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hawaii). “There is absolutely no reason why we should have a government shutdown on Thursday.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is still pledging to hold a key vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package on Thursday. That is despite pushback from some members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who want an agreement on the $3.5 trillion social safety net bill before voting on the physical infrastructure piece first.
“Things are very fluid right now,” Kahele said. “But, I feel confident that we will be able to pass both.”
A small number of moderate Republicans are expected to support the infrastructure package, but right now that number is too small to offset Democrats who are pledging not to vote for it.”
“That $1.2 trillion bill, I’m very supportive of,” said Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.). “And I look forward to doing my part to encouraging my colleagues on the Republican side to support that.”