Joe Manchin voices ‘serious concerns’ about $3.5tn budget after Senate approval – live | US news
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In case you missed it yesterday: the Texas supreme court has voided a lower court’s order temporarily barring the arrest of Democratic legislators who fled the state to block the passage of voting restrictions.
The Guardian’s Dani Anguiano reports:
The court blocked a restraining order that protected the lawmakers from being arrested after they fled the state in July to stop a Republican effort to enact new voting restrictions. By fleeing the state, Democratic lawmakers denied the Republican-led legislature the quorum needed to proceed with the bill.
The court’s decision means that those who have returned to the state can be detained and forcibly brought to the state capitol to re-establish quorum, according to the Texas Tribune.
The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, had already called another special session to pass the voting restrictions, putting more pressure on the Democratic legislators.
Abbott has pledged to “continue to call special session, after special session, after special session every single month until we address and vote on these bills”.
Senator Joe Manchin’s criticism of Democrats’ $3.5tn spending package could jeopardize both that legislation and the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which passed the Senate yesterday.
Some House progressives have indicated they will not support the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless they receive assurances about the $3.5tn spending package, which includes a number of large investments in childcare, health care and climate-related initiatives.
Manchin’s “serious concerns” about the price tag of that bill could threaten its Senate passage because Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer needs all 50 Democrats on board to pass the proposal via reconciliation.
So if Manchin (or fellow Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who has also voiced concerns about the bill’s cost) tank the legislation, some House progressives may vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
And House speaker Nancy Pelosi only has a three-seat majority to work with as she tries to pass both pieces of legislation. There is very little wiggle room for Democratic leaders in either chamber of Congress.
House majority leader Steny Hoyer announced yesterday that the chamber will return from its August recess early to take up the $3.5tn budget bill.
The House was not originally scheduled to return to session until September 20.
Hoyer said in a letter to his colleagues yesterday, “For your scheduling purposes, assuming that the Senate does, in fact, complete work on a budget resolution, the House will return to session on the evening of August 23 to consider that budget resolution and will remain in session until our business for the week is concluded.”
Hoyer noted that the House will also consider the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which faces a rocky path to Senate passage because of the filibuster. Civil rights activists have been demanding that Democrats continue to fight for national voting rights legislation, despite fierce Republican opposition.
Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.
Senate Democrats approved the blueprint for their $3.5tn budget bill early this morning, after a marathon session that included an hours-long “vote-a-rama” on the proposal.
The 50-49 vote fell along party lines, as Senate Republicans continued to fiercely criticize the bill as a reckless spending spree. Because Democrats are advancing the bill using reconciliation, they do not need any Republican support to pass it.
“It’s been quite a night,” Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote. “We still have a ways to go, but we’ve taken a giant step forward to transforming America. This is the most significant piece of legislation that’s been considered in decades.”
But there are still serious hurdles ahead for the bill. One of the most centrist members of the Senate Democratic caucus, Joe Manchin, said after the vote that he has “serious concerns about the grave consequences” of another large spending package.
“Given the current state of the economic recovery, it is simply irresponsible to continue spending at levels more suited to respond to a Great Depression or Great Recession – not an economy that is on the verge of overheating,” Manchin said.
If Schumer cannot keep Manchin on board, the bill will not pass the evenly divided Senate, so the stakes could not be higher.
The blog will have more details on the bill coming up, so stay tuned.
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