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House approves bill to avert government shutdown and suspend debt limit but shoots down Republican attempt to add $1 billion in funding for Israel's Iron Dome

 House Democrats approved a bill on Tuesday to avert a government shut down and increase the debt limit but shot down a Republican attempt to add back $1 billion in funding to Israel's Iron Dome program.

The House passed the measure, 220 to 211 along party lines, to fund the government through December 3rd. 

The bill also increased the debt limit until December 2022 in order to stop the government from defaulting on its debt. Additionally, there is $28.6 billion in disaster funding to help the South after Hurricane Ida and the North East from severe storms and $6.3 billion to help Afghan refugees relocating to the United States.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where it's expected in the 50-50 chamber where Democrats will be hard-pressed to find 10 Republicans to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a filibuster.

Also on Tuesday night, House Democrats batted down an attempt by Republicans to send the bill back to committee so funding could be added for Israel's defense system after it was removed due to the objections of progressive Democratic members Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Pramila Jayapal of Washington.

Instead, House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer said he'll try to bring up a standalone Iron Dome bill this week.

'It is my intention to bring to this floor a suspension bill before the end of this week that will fund fully Iron Dome. I was for that. I'm still for it, we ought to do it,' he said on the House floor. 

House Democrats approved a bill to avert a government shut down, increase the debt limit, provide disaster relief and help Afghan refugees

House Democrats approved a bill to avert a government shut down, increase the debt limit, provide disaster relief and help Afghan refugees

House Democrats shot down a Republican attempt to add back $1 billion in funding to Israel's Iron Dome program

House Democrats shot down a Republican attempt to add back $1 billion in funding to Israel's Iron Dome program

Earlier in the day, Hoyer told Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid the removal of funds from the stopgap bill was only a 'technical delay' as Democrats were forced into crisis talks over the issue. 

In Tuesday night's vote on the government funding bill, Democrats forced a showdown with Republicans who oppose the package despite the risk of a fiscal crisis. If it hadn't passed, the government risked shutting down at the end of the month and the U.S. risked defaulting on its debt.

Backed by the White House, Democratic congressional leaders pushed ahead at a time of great uncertainty in Congress. With lawmakers already chiseling away at the $3.5 trillion price tag of President Joe Biden´s broad 'build back better' agenda, immediate attention focused on the upcoming deadlines to avert deeper problems if votes to shore up government funding fail.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer will meet with Biden at the White House on Wednesday to discuss his legislative agenda, according to reports.

The meeting comes as Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he was not about to help pay off past debts when Biden was about to pile on more with a 'reckless' tax and spending package. He said since Democrats control the White House and Congress, it's their problem to find the votes.

'The debt ceiling will be raised as it always should be, but it will be raised by the Democrats,' McConnell said.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made clear he was not going to approve a bill to raise the debt limit

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made clear he was not going to approve a bill to raise the debt limit

The Treasury Department warned that it will soon run out of cash on hand, and have to rely on incoming receipts to pay its obligations, now at $28.4 trillion. That could force the Treasury to delay or miss payments, a devastating situation.

Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's Analytics, warned if lawmakers allow a federal debt default 'this economic scenario is cataclysmic.'

In a report being circulated by Democrats, Zandi warned that a potential downturn from government funding cutbacks would cost 6 million jobs and stock market losses would wipe out $15 trillion of household wealth.

Once a routine matter, raising the debt ceiling has become a political weapon of choice for Republicans in Washington ever since the 2011 arrival of tea party lawmakers who refused to allow the increase. At the time, they argued against more spending and the standoff triggered a fiscal crisis.

Echoing that strategy, McConnell is refusing to provide Republican votes, even though he also relied on Democratic votes help raise the debt ceiling when his party had the majority. He explained his current thinking to senators during a private lunch Tuesday.

Still, some GOP senators might have a tough time voting no.

Republican John Kennedy of Louisiana, whose state was battered by the hurricane and who is up for election next year, said he will likely vote for the increase. 'My people desperately need the help,' he said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that 'in our view, this should not be a controversial vote.' Psaki said Congress has raised the debt ceiling numerous times on a bipartisan basis, including three times under President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Democrats were negotiating among themselves over Biden's big 'build back better' package as the price tag likely slips to win over skeptical centrist lawmakers who view it as too much.

Publicly, the White House has remained confident the legislation will pass soon, despite sharp differences among progressives and moderates in the party over the eventual size of the package and a companion $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

There has been a flurry of outreach from the White House to Democrats on Capitol Hill, and Biden himself was given a call sheet of lawmakers to cajole, even though his week was dominated by foreign policy, including his speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

The president has been talking to a wide number of lawmakers beyond his recent meetings with Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., two key centrist votes, according to a White House official familiar with the calls and granted anonymity to discuss them.

Biden's big initiative touches almost all aspects of Americans' lives. It would impose tax hikes on corporations and wealthy Americans earning beyond $400,000 a year and plow that money back into federal programs for young and old. It would increase and expand government health, education and family support programs for households, children and seniors, and boost environmental infrastructure programs to fight climate change.

Biden´s plan aims to not just rebuild the country after the COVID-19 crisis and economic fallout, but begin to change longstanding federal spending patterns in ways that provide more services to more Americans, and attempt to level growing income inequality.

With Republicans opposed to Biden's vision, Democrats have no votes to spare in the Senate, and just a few votes' margin in the House.

Pelosi has promised a Sept. 27 vote on the companion bill, a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill of public works projects that enjoys widespread support from both parties in the Senate, though House Republicans mostly oppose it.

Even though that bipartisan bill should be an easy legislative lift, it too faces a political obstacle course. Dozens of lawmakers in the Congressional Progressive Caucus are expected to vote against it if it comes ahead of the broader Biden package. And centrists won´t vote for the broader package unless they are assured the bipartisan bill will also be included.

1 comment:

  1. The American people have gotten tired of the demands, bullying, and blackmail the American government has received from the fully nuclear armed, viciously apartheid, theocracy which is what Israel has become in the 21st century.

    And we have one word for you: enough!!

    We will provide you no more American military to get slaughtered or maimed for life in the process of "neutralizing" all your alleged existential threats in the Middle East. And of course, as we both know, that includes all of your neighbors in the region.

    And on top of that, sir, we would appreciate it greatly if the US government immediately pull all financial and military aid from your country immediately, as all this aid is completely illegal under the Symington Amendment.

    We the people would like to see this accomplished and immediately, sir. The days of the host/parasite relationship between the Us government and that of Israel may well be coming to a very abrupt halt, and it is damn well about time, sir!!!

    Sun comes up, Israel demands money. Sun goes down, Israel demands money. Moon waxes, Israel demands money. Moon wanes, Israel demands money. Weather is sunny, Israel demands money. Weather is rainy, Israel demands money. I sense a pattern here!