Good morning! It’s Friday, October 1, 2021. Election Day 2022 is 403 days away. Election Day 2024 is 1,131 days away.
Happy October! The government did not shut down yesterday, but Democrats failed to make progress on President Biden’s domestic agenda. Allow me to catch you up...
House delays infrastructure vote as Democratic search for spending deal
Thursday was supposed to be a crowning day for congressional Democrats, as the House planned to send President Joe Biden’s prized bipartisan infrastructure deal to his desk and also come to an agreement on advancing the rest of his sweeping spending initiative.
Instead, the day ended without an infrastructure vote or a spending deal, a major blow to Biden’s economic agenda.
Progressives had been making the same threat for weeks: Dozens of them were prepared to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure plan in the House until an agreement was struck with Senate moderates on how to move forward on the larger Democratic spending package, a trillions-dollar proposal to expand Medicare, combat climate change, and reshape the American social safety net.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had spent much of the week insisting that the infrastructure bill would be approved anyway, until finally bowing to reality and announcing after 11 p.m. on Thursday that the vote would be delayed after all.
The cancellation of the vote was a significant victory for progressive Democrats, who have long called for the two pieces of legislation to be linked, and a setback for the moderates who had secured a promise from Pelosi that the bipartisan infrastructure bill they helped craft would receive a vote on Thursday.
Behind the scenes, furious negotiations took place all day between progressives, centrists, and party leadership to make a deal on the spending package so the infrastructure bill could advance.
As always, centrist Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — who each have major quibbles for the spending package but whose votes are needed for it to advance — stood at the center of the day-long talks.
The day’s biggest bombshell was a Politico report that Manchin had informed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in July that his preferred price tag for the spending package was $1.5 trillion over 10 years, far smaller than the $3.5 trillion topline price embraced by progressives and Democratic leaders.
Rank-and-file Democrats were blindsided by the revelation that Manchin had outlined his stance to Schumer months ago and that he had been preparing to reject a $3.5 trillion package all along.
Democratic leaders are reportedly trying to convince Manchin — and the enigmatic Sinema — to accept a $2.1 trillion bill as a compromise.
So now, they continue trying today. Emerging from her office just after midnight, Pelosi told reporters that “there will be a vote today” on the infrastructure package — although she made the same promise on Thursday.
“A great deal of progress has been made this week, and we are closer to an agreement than ever,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a late-night statement. “But we are not there yet, and so, we will need some additional time to finish the work, starting tomorrow morning first thing.”
Do you need a refresher on what’s in the bipartisan infrastructure deal and what’s in the Democratic spending proposal? Make sure to check out my cheat sheet from earlier this week.
What else you need to know
- Shutdown averted. President Joe Biden signed a bill on Thursday to extend government funding through December 3, averting the threat of a government shutdown. The stopgap funding bill passed the House in a 254-175 vote (with all Democrats and 34 Republicans in favor) and the Senate in a 65-35 vote (with all Democrats and 15 Republicans in favor).
- Another grim milestone. As of this morning, more than 700,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year, according to NBC News.
- SCOTUS positive. Justice Brett Kavanaugh has tested positive for COVID-19, the Supreme Court announced this morning. The first Supreme Court justice to contract the virus, he is asymptomatic and fully vaccinated.
- New nuclear tests. North Korea said this morning that it test-fired a new anti-aircraft missile, the country’s “fourth weapons launch in recent weeks,” per the Associated Press.
All times Eastern, unless otherwise noted.
President Joe Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing at 9:30 a.m.
Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Palm Springs, California, at 2 p.m. and remain there overnight.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will hold her daily press briefing at 1 p.m.
U.S. public health officials will hold a press briefing on COVID-19 response at 11 a.m. Participants will include CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, Surogen General Vivek Murthy, and White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients.
The Senate will convene at 12 p.m. and resume consideration of the nomination of Paloma Adams-Allen to be Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for Management and Resources.
The chamber has no roll call votes scheduled today.
The House is scheduled to reconvene no earlier than 9:30 a.m. The chamber did not technically adjourn on Thursday night, it is just “in recess subject to the call of the Chair,” meaning the House is technically still in the legislative day of September 30.
The Supreme Court will hold the formal investiture ceremony for Justice Amy Coney Barrett at 10 a.m. It is a ceremonial occasion ahead of the court’s new term; Barrett joined the court last term amid the pandemic. The court announced that Justice Kavanugh, newly COVID positive, will not attend the event.
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