Congress

Senate Dems free-fall toward filibuster face-off without a parachute

Senate Democrats will stick together on this week’s vote to push their voting and election reform bill past Republican opposition. Then they’ll focus on isolating two of their own centrists. The Democratic caucus is pressing forward with laying blame on Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) for the party’s failure to advance sweeping elections reform, thanks to their…

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Congress

Dems' filibuster conundrum: It's not just Manchin and Sinema

A Democratic senator from Arizona is still not sold on changes to the filibuster. And it’s not Kyrsten Sinema. Mark Kelly is not yet committed to a change in the Senate rules that would allow elections reform legislation to pass by a simple majority. A centrist who is up for reelection in November, Kelly said Monday he is still undecided…

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Congress

How Schumer and McConnell got the debt deal done

After receiving a rare request from Mitch McConnell to discuss the debt limit in November, Chuck Schumer dialed Nancy Pelosi but received no answer. Given the urgency, he rushed to their joint press conference and waited for her to finish speaking. After she concluded, the two Democratic leaders walked to Schumer’s car and he laid out a possible solution to…

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Congress

Dems weigh forcing Manchin's hand on their $1.7T megabill

Democrats are tired of waiting for Joe Manchin. After following the West Virginia Democrat’s every utterance on President Joe Biden’s sweeping climate and social spending plan, some Senate Democrats say their party should put the bill on the floor as soon as possible, regardless of whether Manchin gives a public commitment to support it beforehand. That could risk sinking the…

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Congress

Senate sinks deeper into quagmire of dysfunction

The House is beset by historically deep personal animus and vitriol. The Senate is plumbing its own depths of straight-up gridlock. Democratic leaders’ decision to kick some critical business until the end of the year allowed them to write a new infrastructure law and near agreement on a social spending bill. But as the end of the year draws closer,…

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Congress

Democrats' December dread builds after defense stumble

Senate Democrats’ daunting year-end agenda started off with a face plant on a routine, popular defense bill. That was supposed to be the easy part. Senate Republicans’ Monday blockade of the annual defense legislation over lack of amendment votes presaged a bitingly difficult December for Democrats’ slim Senate majority. Top of mind is clinching President Joe Biden’s $1.7 trillion spending…

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Congress

Sinema strikes back

Watch the Senate floor enough and you’ll notice Sen. Kyrsten Sinema regularly chatting with Mitch McConnell and his top deputy John Thune. Republicans have even tried to recruit her to their conference, and throw the Senate to the GOP. Don’t worry though, Democrats: Sinema’s not becoming a Republican. "No. Why would I do that?" the moderate Arizonan says in her…

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Congress

Welcome to the Senate’s year-end to-do list: ‘It’s going to be a train wreck’

As Mark Warner considers the Senate work left undone as the holiday season dawns, he’s weighing a couple of potentially ugly scenarios. “Having only other senators to kiss on New Year’s Eve?” the Virginia Democrat deadpanned about the chamber’s upcoming December pile-up. “The only thing that might be worse would be opening each other’s stockings on Christmas Eve.” The Senate…

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Congress

The end of Manchema

Are they Sinemanch or Manchema? The debate can probably cease. The centrist Democratic senators from Arizona and West Virginia, once united on shaving down the cost of a party-line social spending bill that started at $3.5 trillion, are now going their own way in the final stretch of negotiations on a linchpin of President Joe Biden’s agenda. Sure, they both…

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Congress

Liberals weigh their options: Settle for half a loaf, or fight

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand fought to see paid leave included in President Joe Biden’s social spending framework until the ink dried. When her goal fell short, the New York Democrat decided to get pragmatic and back the deal anyway. As a tumultuous 48 hours test the mettle of a Democratic Party that’s yet to fully face the reality of what’s achievable…

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Congress

'Bulls—': How a Manchin-Bernie blowup helped unstick Dems' agenda

Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders tangled in a private Democratic meeting this week that helped set the stage for growing progress on President Joe Biden’s agenda. As Democratic leadership gathered Monday ahead of a pivotal week of negotiations on the party’s social spending bill, Manchin (D-W.Va.) laid out what he could accept to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s team. Universal…

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Congress

The Manchin and Bernie show consumes Democrats

It was almost inevitable that the fight over President Joe Biden’s agenda would come down to Bernie Sanders vs. Joe Manchin. They represent fewer than 1 percent of Americans, but there’s no clearer window into Democrats’ inability to advance their domestic priorities than the ongoing rift between the socialist Vermont Independent and the conservative West Virginia Democrat. The duo’s verbal…

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Congress

Republicans set to block bill to avert shutdown, lift debt ceiling

Senate Republicans are poised to sink Democrats’ plans to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling on Monday evening, sending congressional leaders scrambling to avoid a government shutdown that would kick in Friday morning. The GOP is set to reject a proposal to fund the government into December and lift the debt ceiling past next year’s midterms, a vote…

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Congress

As Dems race forward, Manchin pumps brakes: ‘There is no timeline’

Democratic leaders and President Joe Biden are speeding up their work on Biden’s massive jobs and families plan. Joe Manchin keeps throttling momentum back. The president wants Manchin and other holdouts to find a top-line number they are comfortable with for the transformational spending bill that will run into the trillions of dollars, but Manchin isn’t yet ready to give…

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Congress

Dems seek to ‘avoid a shutdown, at all costs’ as GOP picks debt fight

Democrats want to bludgeon the GOP over its debt ceiling intransigence as much as they can — though not necessarily hard enough to shut the government down next week. Publicly, Senate Democrats’ preferred option is to continue pressuring Republicans to buckle and accept their proposal linking government funding and a debt ceiling increase. But failing that, they say they need…

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Congress

Shutdown, default odds increase as GOP buckles up to block debt limit hike

Lisa Murkowski isn’t fully comfortable with her fellow Republicans’ stance on the debt ceiling, which could risk a U.S. debt default or a government shutdown. She recognizes, however, that she’s something of a unicorn. “I always look carefully at things that will tie or limit our ability to address things on the [government funding] side. So, I probably take a…

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Congress

Democrats grapple with faltering filibuster push

Anti-filibuster advocates are preparing a last stand to gut the Senate’s supermajority requirement by spotlighting a sweeping Democratic election reform bill. Their chances aren’t looking good. The effort is uphill and potentially impossible, given several Democratic moderates’ entrenched opposition to changing the 60-vote requirement for most legislation. All 50 Democratic votes would need to get on board for a change…

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Congress

Democrats confront their Manchin and Sinema dilemma

Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema hold the reins on President Joe Biden’s jobs and families plan, and their fellow Democrats are struggling with how to handle it. Led by Manchin’s media tour on Sunday shows and in the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages, the two moderate senators are essentially dictating the final terms of what their colleagues have envisioned as…

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Congress

The power of 10: Inside the 'unlikely partnership' that sealed an infrastructure win

Moments before he blessed their bipartisan infrastructure agreement, President Joe Biden made a critical promise to five GOP senators he’d gathered in the Oval Office. On that sunny June afternoon, sitting with the five Republicans and their five Democratic negotiating partners, Biden assured them that he wouldn’t endorse their deal and then later attach new physical infrastructure they didn’t agree…

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Congress

Biden's infrastructure bill crawls toward Senate passage

The bipartisan infrastructure deal embraced by President Joe Biden and shaped by a gang of 10 senators is inching closer to clearing the chamber, with one more filibuster to clear on Sunday before the bill can pass later this week and land in the the House. Absent a deal to speed up the legislation and consider more amendments, the Senate…

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