Government shutdown averted, Biden’s budget still in limbo

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – In Washington, the lights are on and federal employees will be going to work Friday. President Biden signed a bill to keep the federal government funded just hours before the shutdown deadline. But lawmakers went home for the night without voting on a key part of the president’s agenda.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved a vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill from Monday to Thursday to buy more time to get all Democrats on board. But they’re still not there yet.

Speaker Pelosi left the Capitol after midnight after missing the Democrat’s own deadline to pass a $1 trillion spending bill to improve the nation’s infrastructure, insisting a vote is still imminent.

Progressive House Democrats are refusing to vote for the infrastructure bill until Democrats in the Senate reach an agreement on President Biden’s top legislative priority: an even bigger spending plan with money to expand Medicare, fight climate change, and improve access to childcare.

Moderate Democrats Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin object to the $3.5 trillion price tag. Manchin’s proposing a bill $2 trillion smaller. But all sides are expressing optimism.

Earlier, both chambers agreed to keep the federal government open until December 3. That bill included money for disaster relief in several states and to help re-settle Afghans newly arrived in the U.S. But it did not increase the nation’s debt limit.

Congress has until October 18th to raise or extend the debt limit. Fed Chair Janet Yellin said it would be “catastrophic” if they didn’t and said the debt limit should be abolished.

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