Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is making an urgent call to action within his fractured party amid Democrats’ impasse on moving to raise the debt ceiling, or passing the $1.2 trillion on infrastructure and $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bills.
“It is crucial that the House, Senate, and president come to a final agreement on the details of the Build Back Better Act as soon as possible, preferably within a matter of days, not weeks,” Schumer wrote in a letter to the Senate Democratic caucus, according to myriad reports.
“I will be working with the speaker and the president – and encourage all of you to help us – to reach that agreement expeditiously.”
First, Schumer’s letter read, that he is working to raise the debt ceiling this week.
“Let me be clear about the task ahead of us: We must get a bill to the president’s desk dealing with the debt limit by the end of the week. Period,” Schumer wrote, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has already warned the U.S. risks going into default if the debt limit is not raised by the end of the month, setting an “X date” for Oct. 18 to pass a higher debt limit.
“The consequences of even approaching the X date could be disastrous for our economy and devastating to American families,” Schumer’s letter warned, the Journal reported.
The Senate has already passed the bipartisan infrastructure package, sending it to the House, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said that the bill would have to be passed with the larger social benefits package in the budget reconciliation bill. Progressives are holding out on infrastructure in an attempt to force the budget bill to remain large and package it with social benefits and climate change spending initiatives.
Moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have held out on support for the $3.5 trillion spending bill, saying it lacked urgency and was too large. Sinema had been a leader of the bipartisan infrastructure group, reportedly whipping up 10 GOP votes on the vow it could pass without being saddled to the budget reconciliation effort that Democrats intended to move with only 50 Democrat and independent votes in the Senate.
Manchin wants the budget capped at $1.5 trillion, and now the Democrat power holders are left to negotiate the makeup of the bill with both chambers of Congress and the president.
“We can get this done, together, if we put aside our differences and find the common ground within our party,” Schumer’s letter read, according to The Hill. “It will require sacrifice.
“Not every member will get everything he or she wanted. But at the end of the day, we will pass legislation that will dramatically improve the lives of the American people. I believe we are going to do just that in the month of October.”