Time is no ally as Dems strain to finish Biden's $2T bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — If President Joe Biden's $2 trillion social and environment package was a Broadway show, its seven months on Congress' stage could qualify it as a hit. But lawmaking isn't show business, and many Democrats worry that with the curtain falling soon on 2021, time is not their friend.
Each passing day threatens to push final action into 2022, an election year when control of Congress will be at stake and lawmakers will become ever more wary of casting tough votes.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to end his party's disagreements and finally squeeze the bill through his chamber before Christmas. Indeed, holiday deadlines are a time-tested way of prodding lawmakers to solve disputes so they can go home. And momentum toward approving Biden’s top domestic initiative — the House passed an initial version last month — seems to make prospects strong.
Yet while Schumer and other Democrats express confidence that his target date will be met, some are anxious it won't and are concerned about damaging consequences.
The New York senator needs time to work out final compromises with resistant party moderates including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. Also chewing up the calendar will be tedious but crucial rules sessions with the Senate parliamentarian, plus work on major bills on defense policy and extending the government's borrowing authority to avoid a federal default.
The longer it takes to finish the $2 trillion package, the longer it can be vulnerable to factors — predictable and unforeseen, economic and political — that might complicate Schumer's task.
“You let things sit around here, particularly past a Christmas vacation and into an election year, and that is toxic,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., a leader of her party's...