Here are the major issues and deadlines facing Congress as lawmakers return to Washington

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer attend a information convention with mothers helped by Child Tax Credit payments at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., July 20, 2021.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

President Joe Biden‘s huge financial agenda, the fat religion and credit of the United States, authorities funding and abortion rights are all at stake as Congress returns to Washington after weeks away.

The Senate comes reduction Monday from its August recess. The House will follow the upper chamber reduction to the Capitol on Sept. 20.

Lawmakers will desire to bustle to meet a fluctuate of critical cleave-off dates in the upcoming weeks. The tempo at which Congress works will settle whether the authorities shuts down, if the U.S. defaults on its money owed and whether the main proposed growth of the social safety ranking in decades will take hold of attain.

“We know the American of us are facing challenges of enormous proportions, so we should always and we are able to straggle legislation that meets the moment,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., acknowledged Wednesday in pushing for the a torrent of fresh investments in social suggestions.

Congress faces a logjam:

  • Infrastructure: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has promised centrist Democrats she will be able to reduction a vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure invoice by Sept. 27. The pledge shouldn’t be any longer binding, and politics inner her caucus might perhaps perhaps possibly complicate the timeline.
  • Democrats’ reconciliation invoice: Pelosi hopes to approve an up to $3.5 trillion conception that invests in social suggestions and climate policy alongside with the infrastructure invoice. However the House, Senate and White House are unexcited writing the conception — and deciding which version might perhaps perhaps possibly get the enhance of nearly each and every Democrat in Congress.
  • Govt funding: Lawmakers should always straggle appropriations payments by Sept. 30 to prevent a authorities shutdown.
  • Debt ceiling: The US might perhaps perhaps possibly default on its tasks in October if Congress fails to grab the debt ceiling. Democrats are deciding how one can grab or hunch the restrict on their very have after Republicans acknowledged they would no longer be half of in the be troubled.
  • Abortion rights: The House plans to vote on a invoice that might give protection to the lawful to abortions nationwide after the Supreme Court declined to block a restrictive Texas legislation. If the chamber passes the conception, it faces prolonged odds in the Senate.


Democratic leaders rapid centrists threatening to extend the birthday celebration’s reconciliation conception that they would vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure invoice by Sept. 27. A final House vote would ship the package — which would assign $550 billion in fresh money into transportation, broadband and utility systems — to Biden’s desk for his signature.

Congress has to conquer hurdles earlier than a prolonged-awaited infrastructure investment involves fruition. If Pelosi strikes too soon to straggle the bipartisan invoice, it will possibly perhaps perhaps possibly jeopardize enhance for the conception amongst progressives who are seeking to straggle attempting Democrats’ price range conception passed at the identical time.

Intriguing too a long way previous the nonbinding Sept. 27 goal risks drawing the ire of the identical centrists who previously tried to extend the Democratic spending conception. Pelosi has acknowledged she region the time restrict in fragment on yarn of surface transportation funding expires Sept. 30.

Democrats’ reconciliation invoice

Democrats desire to pull off a heavy grab to push through their up to $3.5 trillion spending invoice, the ideal portion of Biden’s financial agenda. Whereas birthday celebration leaders attain no longer should always get over any Republicans to straggle the conception through price range reconciliation, they’ll should always protect each and every Democratic senator and nearly all House members on board to salvage it through Congress.

Committees are working to write their parts of the conception, then lawmakers will combine them into one sprawling package. Schumer first region a Sept. 15 goal date for committees to fabricate crafting their aspects of the legislation.

The conception is much from a done deal. Democrats are expected to develop taxes on the rich and corporations, amplify puny one care and paid mosey away, spend money on green vitality and offer universal pre-K and free neighborhood college. But writing each and every policy in a formula that might satisfy Democrats across the ideological spectrum poses a self-discipline.

Seriously, the birthday celebration has no longer arrive to a consensus on whether to prioritize increasing Medicare or shoring up the Cheap Care Act. Pelosi has acknowledged the invoice can attain each and every.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., has rapid his birthday celebration to terminate consideration of the invoice as he and other Democrats teach they shouldn’t be any longer going to vote for $3.5 trillion in spending. Schumer has no longer heeded Manchin’s name, asserting Wednesday that “we’re shifting fat tempo forward.”

Slashing spending to soothe centrists jeopardizes enhance from progressives, who stare passing the bigger conception as a situation for backing the smaller infrastructure invoice. Senate Funds Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, a Vermont self sustaining who is taking half in a chief characteristic in the process, acknowledged Wednesday that he wants $3.5 trillion in spending “at the very least.”

Pelosi posed the problem one other formula to Democrats who enhance particular insurance policies in the reconciliation invoice.

“The assign would you cleave?” she requested on Wednesday.

Govt funding

Govt funding will lapse if Congress does now not straggle a funding invoice by Sept. 30. Lawmakers will seemingly decide for a non permanent persevering with decision — which would protect the authorities working at fresh spending stages — rather then fat-yr legislation.

Failure to straggle an appropriations conception might perhaps perhaps possibly lead to furloughs of federal workers and disruptions in needed products and services. Funding lapsed at the very least like a flash several cases at the moment, most notably at some level of a command 35-day shutdown in gradual 2018 and early 2019.

The White House on Tuesday rapid Congress to approve a stopgap funding invoice. The Biden administration known as for lawmakers to encompass billions of bucks in hurricane relief funding and money to support to relocate Afghan refugees.

Debt ceiling

The Treasury Division has already taken so-known as unparalleled measures to stave off default on U.S. money owed and the functionality financial calamity that might follow. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday pushed Congress to grab the debt restrict, asserting failure to attain so “would seemingly region off irreparable harm to the U.S. economy and world monetary markets.”

Republicans leaders rep wired they shouldn’t be any longer going to be half of Democrats in balloting to grab the debt restrict. The GOP has compelled its counterparts to grab the ceiling as fragment of the $3.5 trillion spending invoice, a straggle the birthday celebration would are attempting and make utter of as a political cudgel.

Pelosi acknowledged Wednesday that Democrats would no longer wrap the debt restrict change into the reconciliation invoice. Schumer would no longer solution whether his birthday celebration would encompass it in the authorities funding legislation, finest asserting “now we rep a preference of numerous strategies” to grab the ceiling.

Abortion rights

Democrats rep pledged to straggle like a flash to give protection to reproductive rights after the Supreme Court decided no longer to block a Texas legislation that bans most abortions. Critics of the Texas restrictions — which bar most abortions after six weeks, when many folks might perhaps perhaps possibly now not even know they’re pregnant — teach they flout the precedent region by the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Pelosi has acknowledged that after the House returns, it House will vote on the Females’s Effectively being Protection Act, which would make abortion a factual lawful through the U.S. and forestall states from placing medically needless restrictions on the procedures.

If the conception gets through the House, it will possibly perhaps perhaps possibly now not mosey a long way in the Senate. At the least 10 Republicans would desire to reduction the invoice for it to salvage the 60 votes wanted for passage.

Easiest two GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, rep expressed enhance for abortion rights in the previous.

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