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    Finance Executives Say Risk of Default Is Already Damaging the Economy

    Shortly after the C.E.O.s met with President Biden, Senator Mitch McConnell said he would allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling enough to push a potential default to December.Finance executives met with President Biden as an Oct. 18 debt-ceiling deadline inched closer, warning that a U.S. default would threaten the global economy. Senate Republicans have promised to filibuster a long-term suspension of the borrowing limit.Doug Mills/The New York TimesPresident Biden met with finance executives on Wednesday as he continued to try to put maximum pressure on Senate Republicans to raise the debt ceiling before Oct. 18, the date the Treasury Department has said the United States would go into default.Shortly after the meeting, Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, seemed to relent from his opposition to allowing Democrats to lift the ceiling in the short term through regular channels. He said he would “allow Democrats to use normal procedures to pass an emergency debt limit extension at a fixed dollar amount to cover current spending levels into December.”The White House dismissed Mr. McConnell’s statement as an informal offer and said the president would rather Republicans allow a vote on a spending bill to go forward.The executives all warned that the economy would be threatened should the country default on its debts for the first time in history.“It’s already beginning to cause some damage in the economy,” Jane Fraser, the chief executive of Citigroup, told the president. “It will hurt consumers. It will hurt small businesses.”“It’s not an exaggeration to say that even small distortions in the Treasury market can cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars over many years,” she added, referring to the market for bonds issued by the Treasury Department.Mr. Biden, seeking to convey the consequences to everyday Americans, asked the executives to explain what would happen if the United States went into default for only a day or two.“Certainly, as we know, there are hundreds of millions of investors that are involved in the markets today that have put their hard-earned savings into the markets,” said Adena Friedman, the chief executive of Nasdaq. “And we would expect that the markets will react very, very negatively.”Mr. McConnell of Kentucky had long said Democrats must use a more complicated process known as reconciliation to overcome Republican opposition to raising the debt ceiling. In his statement on Wednesday, he reiterated that the reconciliation process was the only option he supported for a longer-term increase in the limit, unless “Democrats abandon their efforts to ram through another historically reckless taxing and spending spree.”The financial sector had been projecting a grim two weeks ahead. A report released by Goldman Sachs said that there was little reason to believe Congress would meet the Oct. 18 deadline, but that “the public and financial market response would likely force a quick political resolution.”Senate Democrats are still weighing their options for a path forward. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Wednesday that the White House did not want to keep prolonging things with an extension. “We don’t need to go through a cumbersome process that every day brings additional risks,” Ms. Psaki said.Asked why the White House does not support a short-term debt ceiling increase that could, at least temporarily, calm financial markets, Ms. Psaki replied, “Why not just get it done now?” She said Mr. Biden and Mr. McConnell had not yet spoken about the debt limit.The budget process of reconciliation would most likely involve two marathons of politically charged votes that Mr. Biden has predicted would be “fraught with all kinds of potential danger for miscalculation.” Democrats say there is no guarantee that Republicans wouldn’t drag those votes out to inflict procedural and political discomfort.Understand the U.S. Debt CeilingCard 1 of 9What is the debt ceiling? More

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    Biden Calls Republicans 'Reckless' Over the Debt Limit Increase

    The president warned Republicans “not to use procedural tricks to block us from doing the job.”President Biden said Americans could see the implications as early as this week if Senate Democrats were not able to vote to increase the debt limit.Doug Mills/The New York TimesWASHINGTON — President Biden excoriated Republicans on Monday for blocking his party’s efforts to raise the debt ceiling weeks before a projected government default, calling their tactics “reckless” and “disgraceful” and warning they risked causing “a self-inflicted wound that takes our economy over a cliff.”Mr. Biden, trying to convey the risks to everyday Americans, warned that they could see the effects as early as this week if Senate Democrats were not able to vote to raise the debt limit. That cap dictates the amount of money the government can borrow to fulfill its financial obligations, including paying Social Security checks, salaries for military personnel and other bills.“As soon as this week, your savings and your pocketbook could be directly impacted by this Republican stunt,” Mr. Biden said, cautioning that a failed vote could rattle financial markets, sending stock prices lower and interest rates higher. “A meteor is headed for our economy.”Despite Mr. Biden’s attempts to blame Republicans for the impasse, Democrats are increasingly confronting the possibility that they may need to raise the debt limit through the one legislative path that Republicans have left open: a process known as budget reconciliation that bypasses a Senate filibuster. Mr. Biden and Democratic leaders have chafed at that approach, saying Republicans bear a share of responsibility for Washington’s ongoing budget deficits and must at least allow an up-or-down vote, as has been the case under previous presidents.Investors in U.S. government debt are already getting spooked: Yields for certain Treasury bonds that could be affected by a default spiked on Monday, as investors demanded higher interest payments to offset the risk.The Treasury Department has warned the United States will run out of money to pay all its bills by Oct. 18 if the borrowing cap is not raised, a situation that could force the government into default and wreak havoc on an American economy already shaken by the coronavirus.The dire stakes of the debt limit impasse add a level of seriousness to what has become a perennial exercise of political brinkmanship in Washington. Mr. Biden and congressional Democrats say Republicans are putting the entire economy at risk by blocking a Senate vote that would raise the debt limit with just Democrat support. Republicans, who have allowed such votes to occur in the past, have twice blocked Democrats from taking up a bill and are trying to force the party to use reconciliation, which is a more complicated process that could take a week or more to come together.On Monday, the president said that he could not guarantee the limit would be raised.“That’s up to Mitch McConnell,” Mr. Biden said, referencing the senator of Kentucky and minority leader. “I don’t believe it. But can I guarantee it? If I could, I would, but I can’t.”The president’s remarks escalated a showdown with Mr. McConnell, who on Monday sent a letter to Mr. Biden stating that he would not relent in using the filibuster to prevent a Senate vote and that the onus was on Democrats to find a solution.Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, sent a letter to Mr. Biden stating that the onus was on Democrats to find a solution to the debt-limit problem.T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times“I respectfully submit that it is time for you to engage directly with congressional Democrats on this matter,” Mr. McConnell wrote in a letter to Mr. Biden. “Your lieutenants in Congress must understand that you do not want your unified Democratic government to sleepwalk toward an avoidable catastrophe when they have had nearly three months’ notice to do their job.”Democratic leaders in the Senate, along with Mr. Biden, have bristled at Mr. McConnell’s stance, saying Republicans bear responsibility for having approved spending that now requires more government borrowing, and have no right to stand in the way of a Senate vote.“Why? Why are we doing this?” Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said on Monday. “Because McConnell wants to make a point.”Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, visibly frustrated, said the brinkmanship “speaks to how broken this country is.”“I mean it’s crazy — we’re offering a way to do it, where he doesn’t have to have any members vote for it, and he said that’s not good enough,” Mr. Tester said. “It’s got to be on this piece of legislation or we’re out.”Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, told Democrats that a bill that would raise the debt limit would need to reach Mr. Biden’s desk within days, not weeks, and threatened to hold members in Washington over the weekend and cancel an upcoming recess to do it.“Let me be clear about the task ahead of us: We must get a bill to the President’s desk dealing with the debt limit by the end of the week. Period. We do not have the luxury of waiting until Oct. 18,” he wrote in a “dear colleague” letter dated Monday.Mr. McConnell made clear that the Republican decision to filibuster a vote was driven by politics. He cited the votes Mr. Biden cast against raising the debt limit under former President George W. Bush, which he said “made Republicans do it ourselves.”“Bipartisanship is not a light switch that Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer may flip on to borrow money and flip off to spend it,” Mr. McConnell wrote. “For two and a half months, we have simply warned that since your party wishes to govern alone, it must handle the debt limit alone as well.”Administration officials and Democratic leaders note a large difference between the votes under Mr. Bush and the ones now: Democrats did not filibuster those votes, allowing Republicans to bring a bill to the floor and raise the limit on their own.With that avenue in peril, administration officials and congressional leaders are privately sifting through the party’s options if Mr. McConnell does not budge and the vote fails. If that happens, Mr. Biden could face increased pressure to get Mr. Schumer and other party leaders to use budget reconciliation.The reconciliation process would likely involve two marathons of politically charged votes that could extend for the better part of a day. Democrats say there is no guarantee that Republicans won’t drag those votes out to inflict procedural and political discomfort.Understand the U.S. Debt CeilingCard 1 of 8What is the debt limit? More

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    Democrats Move to Avert Shutdown, but Divisions Imperil Biden’s Agenda

    Democrats prepared a spending bill to keep the government funded past a Thursday deadline, but moderates dug in harder against their ambitious social safety net bill.WASHINGTON — Democrats prepared legislation on Wednesday to avert a government shutdown this week, but they were desperately trying to salvage President Biden’s domestic agenda as conservative-leaning holdouts dug in against an ambitious $3.5 trillion social safety net and climate bill that carries many of the party’s top priorities.Congressional leaders moved to address the most immediate threat, working to complete a bill to prevent a government funding lapse at midnight on Thursday. Yet after days of intensive negotiations to bridge bitter differences in their party over Mr. Biden’s two biggest legislative priorities, the president and top Democrats appeared as far as ever from an agreement on their marquee social policy package, which the White House calls the Build Back Better plan.That, in turn, was imperiling a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that was scheduled for a House vote on Thursday.The fate of the two measures could define the success of Mr. Biden’s presidency, and the intense negotiations surrounding them have posed a test of his skills as a deal maker, which he highlighted as a calling card during his campaign for the White House. But after days of personal meetings with lawmakers in the Oval Office and phone calls to key players, Mr. Biden remained far short of a deal.Dramatizing the challenge, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a leading holdout on the social policy bill, issued a lengthy and strongly worded statement on Wednesday evening reiterating his opposition to the proposal as currently constituted, saying it amounted to “fiscal insanity.”“While I am hopeful that common ground can be found that would result in another historic investment in our nation, I cannot — and will not — support trillions in spending or an all-or-nothing approach that ignores the brutal fiscal reality our nation faces,” Mr. Manchin wrote, denouncing an approach that he said would “vengefully tax for the sake of wishful spending.”The statement was the polar opposite of what Mr. Biden and top Democrats had hoped to extract from Mr. Manchin and other centrist critics of the bill by week’s end — a firm public commitment to eventually vote for the social policy measure, in order to placate liberals who want to ensure its enactment.Instead, it further enraged progressives who were already promising to oppose the infrastructure bill until Congress acted on the larger social policy plan, which Democrats plan to push through using a fast-track process known as budget reconciliation to shield it from a filibuster. They have been pressing to push off the infrastructure vote until after votes on the reconciliation bill — or, at the very least, after the centrist holdouts provided a firm sense of what they would accept in that package.“I assume he’s saying that the president is insane, because this is the president’s agenda,” Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington and the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said of Mr. Manchin. “Look, this is why we’re not voting for that bipartisan bill until we get agreement on the reconciliation bill. It’s clear we’ve got a ways to go.”“I tell you, after that statement, we probably have even more people willing to vote ‘no’ on the bipartisan bill,” she added.The impasse left unclear the fate of the infrastructure measure. While a handful of centrist Republicans plan to support it, G.O.P. leaders are urging their members to oppose it, leaving Democrats who hold a slim majority short of votes to pass the bill if progressives revolt.“The plan is to bring the bill to the floor,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters, returning to Capitol Hill after huddling at the White House with Mr. Biden and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader. Asked whether she was concerned about the votes, she added, “One hour at a time.”She spoke shortly after the House passed legislation lifting the statutory limit on federal borrowing until Dec. 16, 2022, an effort to avert a catastrophic federal debt default next month when the Treasury Department says it will breach the current cap.Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic effort to pair the increase with a spending bill to keep the government funded, and are likely to oppose the House-passed bill, which was approved on a nearly party-line vote of 219 to 212 on Wednesday. Still, the move signaled that Democrats were willing to act on the government funding measure separately, steering clear of a shutdown even as the debt ceiling remains unresolved for now.But much of the urgency on Wednesday was focused on salvaging the president’s agenda, after Mr. Biden and his aides cleared his schedule on Wednesday in an attempt to broker a deal among Democrats.Some Democrats have complained this week that the president has not engaged in talks to their satisfaction. He welcomed groups of progressives and moderates to the White House last week, for example, but met with each separately, as opposed to holding a group negotiating session.And efforts by Mr. Biden and his team to pressure Mr. Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, another Democratic holdout on the reconciliation bill, appear to have fallen flat. Officials have been working for days to persuade the pair to specify how much they would be willing to spend on the package, calculating that such a commitment would allay the worries of progressives now refusing to support the infrastructure bill.Both Ms. Sinema and Mr. Manchin visited the White House on Tuesday, but after their meetings, neither they nor White House officials would enumerate the contours of a bill they could support. Top White House officials also trekked to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to huddle privately with Ms. Sinema for more than two hours.“The president felt it was constructive, felt they moved the ball forward, felt there was an agreement, that we’re at a pivotal moment,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Tuesday, characterizing the meetings. “It’s important to continue to finalize the path forward to get the job done for the American people.”Mr. Biden held conversations with various lawmakers throughout the day on Wednesday and planned to continue them on Thursday, White House officials said.Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and other centrist holdouts haven’t provided a firm sense of what they would accept in the reconciliation bill.Sarahbeth Maney/The New York TimesPrivately, administration officials said Mr. Biden was continuing to take an encouraging role with Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema, and not demanding they agree to anything immediately. Both senators have yet to publicly do so, even as liberal Democrats continue to publicly fume over the reticence.In his statement on Wednesday, Mr. Manchin said he wanted to set income thresholds for many of the social program expansions Democrats have proposed. He suggested that he would be open to undoing some components of the 2017 tax cut.Moderate House Democrats, who helped secure a commitment for a vote this week on the infrastructure bill, warned that a failed vote would worsen the already deep mistrust between the two factions of the party.“If the vote were to fail tomorrow or be delayed, there would be a significant breach of trust that would slow the momentum in moving forward on delivering the Biden agenda,” said Representative Stephanie Murphy of Florida, one of the moderates who sought to decouple the two plans.Even as they labored to work out philosophical differences in their party on the bill, Democrats suffered yet another setback on Wednesday when the Senate’s top rules enforcer rejected a second proposal to include a path to legal status for about eight million undocumented immigrants in the reconciliation bill.In a memo obtained by The New York Times, Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate parliamentarian, wrote that the policy change “vastly outweighs its budgetary impact,” effectively disqualifying it from inclusion in a measure whose contents must have a direct impact on the federal budget.In their latest effort, Democrats had proposed moving up the date for a process known as immigration registry, which allows otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States continuously since a certain date to adjust their status and gain a pathway to citizenship. The current date, established in 1986, is set at Jan. 1, 1972. Democrats had sought to change that date to Jan. 1, 2010.After days of personal meetings with lawmakers in the Oval Office and phone calls to key players, President Biden remained far short of a deal. Doug Mills/The New York TimesLast week, Ms. MacDonough rejected Democrats’ initial proposal to grant legal status to several categories of undocumented people, including those brought to the United States as children, known as Dreamers; immigrants who were granted Temporary Protected Status for humanitarian reasons; people working in the country under nonimmigrant visas; close to one million farmworkers; and millions more who are deemed “essential workers.”She said those changes to immigration law could not be included, under the Senate rules, in the reconciliation package because they represented a “tremendous and enduring policy change that dwarfs its budgetary impact.”Democrats said they would continue to look for alternative strategies to aid immigrants through the reconciliation process.Luke Broadwater More

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    U.S. Debt-Limit Brinksmanship Has Become a Political Game

    Republicans and Democrats have long sparred over raising the debt ceiling. But this time, the odds are growing that the U.S. could default.WASHINGTON — For nearly two decades, lawmakers in Washington have waged an escalating display of brinkmanship over the federal government’s ability to borrow money to pay its bills. They have forced administrations of both parties to take evasive actions, pushing the nation dangerously close to economic calamity. But they have never actually tipped the United States into default.The dance is repeating this fall, but this time the dynamics are different — and the threat of default is greater than ever.Republicans in Congress have refused to help raise the nation’s debt limit, even though the need to borrow stems from the bipartisan practice of running large budget deficits. Republicans agree the U.S. must pay its bills, but on Monday they are expected to block a measure in the Senate that would enable the government to do so. Democrats, insistent that Republicans help pay for past decisions to boost spending and cut taxes, have so far refused to use a special process to raise the limit on their own.Observers inside and outside Washington are worried neither side will budge in time, roiling financial markets and capsizing the economy’s nascent recovery from the pandemic downturn.If the limit is not raised or suspended, officials at the Treasury Department warn, the government will soon exhaust its ability to borrow money, forcing officials to choose between missing payments on military salaries, Social Security benefits and the interest it owes to investors who have financed America’s spending spree.Yet Republicans have threatened to filibuster any attempt by Senate Democrats to pass a simple bill to increase borrowing. Party leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky want to force Democrats to raise the limit on their own, through a fast-track congressional process that bypasses a Republican filibuster. That could take weeks to come to fruition, raising the stakes every day that Democratic leaders decline to pursue that option.The problem is further compounded by the fact that no one is quite sure when the government will run out of money. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage the United States in waves, frequently disrupting economic activity and the taxes the government collects, complicating Treasury’s ability to gauge its cash flow. Estimates for what’s known as the “X-date” range from as early as Oct. 15 to mid-November..css-1xzcza9{list-style-type:disc;padding-inline-start:1em;}.css-3btd0c{font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.375rem;color:#333;margin-bottom:0.78125rem;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-3btd0c{font-size:1.0625rem;line-height:1.5rem;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}}.css-3btd0c strong{font-weight:600;}.css-3btd0c em{font-style:italic;}.css-1kpebx{margin:0 auto;font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.125rem;line-height:1.3125rem;color:#121212;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-1kpebx{font-family:nyt-cheltenham,georgia,’times new roman’,times,serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.375rem;line-height:1.625rem;}@media (min-width:740px){#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-1kpebx{font-size:1.6875rem;line-height:1.875rem;}}@media (min-width:740px){.css-1kpebx{font-size:1.25rem;line-height:1.4375rem;}}.css-1gtxqqv{margin-bottom:0;}.css-19zsuqr{display:block;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}.css-12vbvwq{background-color:white;border:1px solid #e2e2e2;width:calc(100% – 40px);max-width:600px;margin:1.5rem auto 1.9rem;padding:15px;box-sizing:border-box;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-12vbvwq{padding:20px;width:100%;}}.css-12vbvwq:focus{outline:1px solid #e2e2e2;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-12vbvwq{border:none;padding:10px 0 0;border-top:2px solid #121212;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-rdoyk0{-webkit-transform:rotate(0deg);-ms-transform:rotate(0deg);transform:rotate(0deg);}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-eb027h{max-height:300px;overflow:hidden;-webkit-transition:none;transition:none;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-5gimkt:after{content:’See more’;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-6mllg9{opacity:1;}.css-qjk116{margin:0 auto;overflow:hidden;}.css-qjk116 strong{font-weight:700;}.css-qjk116 em{font-style:italic;}.css-qjk116 a{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;text-underline-offset:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:visited{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Amid that uncertainty, congressional leaders and President Biden aren’t even attempting to negotiate a resolution. Instead, they are sparring over who should be saddled with a vote that could be used against them, raising the odds that partisan stubbornness will propel the country into a fiscal unknown.It all adds up to an impasse rooted in political messaging, midterm campaign advertising and a desire by Republican leaders to do whatever they can to protest Mr. Biden’s economic agenda, including the $3.5 trillion spending bill that Democrats hope to pass along party lines using a fast-track budget process.Republicans say they will not supply any votes to lift the debt cap, despite having run up trillions in new debt to pay for the 2017 tax cuts, additional government spending and pandemic aid during the Trump administration. Democrats, in contrast, helped President Donald J. Trump increase borrowing in 2017 and 2019.“If they want to tax, borrow, and spend historic sums of money without our input,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor this week, “they will have to raise the debt limit without our help.”Thus far, Mr. Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress have declined to do so, even though employing that process would end the threat of default.Jon Lieber, a former aide to Mr. McConnell who is now with the Eurasia Group, a political-risk consultancy in Washington, wrote in a warning to clients this week that there is a one-in-five chance the standoff will push the country into at least a technical debt default — forcing the government to choose between paying bondholders and honoring all its spending commitments — this fall.“That’s crazy high for an event like this,” Mr. Lieber said in an interview, noting that the odds are significantly higher than in past standoffs. “But I feel really confident that’s the level of panic we should be having.”Republican leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, are making no demands — suggesting no concessions that Mr. Biden and his party could offer to win their votes.Sarahbeth Maney/The New York TimesUnder President George W. Bush, Democrats, including Mr. Biden, voted in 2006 against a debt limit increase, citing Mr. Bush’s budget deficits that were swollen by tax cuts and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They did so despite warnings from administration officials that a default would hurt the nation’s credit rating and economy.Mr. Biden, like many other Democrats, said he could not abet Mr. Bush’s fiscal decisions. But his party did not filibuster a vote and Republicans were able to pass a debt limit increase along party lines. White House officials say Mr. Biden’s vote was symbolic, noting that the ability of Republicans to raise the debt ceiling was never in question.Leaders of both parties have, at times, made a version of the core argument in favor of raising the limit: that it is simply a way to allow the government to pay bills it has already incurred. Both parties also have shown no sign of slowing the nation’s borrowing spree, which accelerated last year as lawmakers approved trillions of dollars of aid for people and businesses struggling through the pandemic recession. Each party has recently occupied the White House and controlled Congress, but neither has come close in recent years to approving a budget that would balance — which is to say, not require additional borrowing and a debt-limit increase — within a decade.Biden administration officials, former Treasury secretaries from both parties and business executives from around the country have all urged lawmakers to raise the borrowing limit as soon as possible.Sarahbeth Maney/The New York TimesBiden administration officials, former Treasury secretaries from both parties and business executives from around the country have all urged lawmakers to raise the borrowing limit as soon as possible.“I think it’s scary for consumer confidence and for confidence in U.S. businesses and potential credit ratings if we don’t make sure that we raise that debt ceiling,” Andy Jassy, the chief executive officer of Amazon, said on CNBC earlier this 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a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Democrats say Republicans have a responsibility to help raise the limit, noting that they helped when Mr. Trump needed to do it. White House officials called Mr. McConnell’s position hypocritical.“Republicans in Congress have spent a decade ushering in a new era where the prospect of default and a global economic meltdown has become a dangerous political football,” Michael Gwin, a White House spokesman, said in an email. “As we rebound from the deep recession caused by the pandemic, it’s more important now than ever to put partisanship aside, remove this cloud from over our economy, and responsibly address the debt limit — just like Democrats did three times under the previous administration.”Mr. Lieber and other analysts worry party leaders are talking past each other. Experts suggest it would take a week or two for Democratic leaders to steer a debt limit increase through the fast-track budget process. That could leave the government vulnerable to a sudden crisis. On Friday, the independent Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank, said the government could run out of cash to pay its bill by mid-October.Mr. Lieber said he is worried about “the risk of miscalculation of both sides,” in part because this standoff is not the same as the ones under Mr. Obama. “The Republicans aren’t asking for anything,” he said. “So their position is, there’s nothing you can do to get us to vote for a debt ceiling increase. That’s a dangerous situation.”Goldman Sachs researchers warned in a note to clients this month that the volatile nature of tax receipts this year, a product of the pandemic, makes the debt limit “riskier than usual” for the economy and markets. They said the standoff was at least as risky as in 2011, when brinkmanship disrupted bond yields and the stock market.Other financial analysts continue to believe that, as they have in the past, the sides will eventually find an agreement — largely because of the consequences of failure.“We believe Congress will raise or suspend the debt ceiling,” Beth Ann Bovino, S&P U.S. chief economist, wrote this week. “A default by the U.S. government would be substantially worse than the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, devastating global markets and the economy.”In the meantime, Republicans are awaiting a vote by Democrats to raise the limit. Senator Rick Scott of Florida, who heads Republicans’ campaign arm in the Senate, told an NBC reporter he was eager to highlight Democratic support for raising the limit in midterm advertisements. More

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    House Passes Spending Bill and Debt Limit Increase Over G.O.P. Opposition

    The measure now heads to the Senate, setting up a clash with Republicans, who have warned they will block any debt ceiling increase.WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday approved legislation to keep the government funded through early December, lift the limit on federal borrowing through the end of 2022 and provide emergency money for Afghan refugees and natural disaster recovery, setting up a fiscal showdown as Republicans warn they will block the measure in the Senate.The bill is urgently needed to avert a government shutdown when funding lapses next week, and a first-ever debt default when the Treasury Department reaches the limit of its borrowing authority within weeks. But it has become ensnared in partisan politics, with Republicans refusing to allow a debt ceiling increase at a time when Democrats control Congress and the White House.In pairing the debt limit raise with the spending package, Democrats had hoped to pressure Republicans into dropping their opposition to raising the debt ceiling, a routine step that allows the government to meet its obligations. But even with crucial funding for their states on the line, no Republicans voted for the legislation.The bill passed with only Democratic votes in the closely divided House, 220 to 211.And the prospects for passage in the 50-50 Senate appeared dim, as Republicans vowed they would neither vote for the legislation nor allow it to advance in the chamber, where 60 votes are needed to move forward.The legislation, released only hours before the House vote, would extend government funding through Dec. 3, buying more time for lawmakers to negotiate the dozen annual spending bills, which are otherwise on track to lapse when the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. The package would also provide $6.3 billion to help Afghan refugees resettle in the United States and $28.6 billion to help communities rebuild from hurricanes, wildfires and other recent natural disasters. It would lift the federal debt limit through Dec. 16, 2022.“As this bill provides critical support for our families and communities it also addresses recent emergencies that require federal resources and incorporates feedback from members on both sides of the aisle,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, in a speech on the House floor.Led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, Republicans have warned for weeks that they had no intention of helping Democrats raise the limit on the Treasury Department’s ability to borrow. While the debt has been incurred with the approval of both parties, Mr. McConnell has repeatedly pointed to Democrats’ efforts to push multitrillion-dollar legislation into law over Republican opposition.But in remarks on Tuesday, Mr. McConnell made a purely political argument for refusing to support raising the debt ceiling, saying the party in power should shoulder the task on its own.“America must never default — we never have, and we never will,” Mr. McConnell said, speaking at his weekly news conference. “But whose obligation it is to do that changes from time to time, depending upon the government the American people have elected. Right now, we have a Democratic president, Democratic House, Democratic Senate.”“The debt ceiling will be raised, as it always should be,” he added. “But it will be raised by the Democrats.”As soon as the House vote gaveled shut, Mr. McConnell and Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, unveiled their own funding legislation, without the debt ceiling increase. Democrats, who joined with Republicans during the Trump administration to raise the debt ceiling, have argued that the G.O.P. is setting a double standard that threatens to sabotage the economy. Should the government default on its debt for the first time, it would prompt a financial crisis, shaking faith in American credit and cratering the stock market.Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, has warned for weeks that Republicans had no intention of helping Democrats raise the limit.Stefani Reynolds for The New York TimesSenate Democrats are expected to take up the bill in the coming days, essentially daring Republicans to vote against it. But without 10 Republicans in support, it would fail to advance past the 60-vote filibuster threshold.Lawmakers and aides have conceded that it is likely possible for Democrats, who control both chambers and the White House, to address the debt ceiling on their own, using the same fast-track budget process they are employing to muscle through their $3.5 trillion social safety net plan over unified Republican opposition. That process, known as reconciliation, shields legislation from a filibuster.But Democratic leaders have rejected that approach, which would be a time-consuming and tricky maneuver that could imperil their marquee domestic legislation, already at risk amid party infighting over its price tag and details. Instead, they have argued that Republicans should do their part to protect American credit and avoid a catastrophic default.“Both Senate and House leadership have decided that that’s not an option they want to pursue,” said Representative John Yarmuth, Democrat of Kentucky and the chairman of the Budget Committee, on Monday. “I want to raise it to a gazillion dollars and just be done with it.”He blasted Mr. McConnell’s position on the federal borrowing limit, saying, “For him to say, ‘The debt ceiling has to be done, but we’re not going to do it’ is to me just the most ludicrous statement I’ve ever heard from a public official.”Mr. McConnell and other Senate Republicans have said they would support a stopgap spending package with the emergency relief attached, as long as the debt limit increase was removed.“I begged the White House, starting about two and a half weeks ago, not to do it, and they’re going to do it anyway,” said Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana. “It tells me that they’re not really serious about helping my state.”But Mr. Kennedy said he would still probably vote for the combined package because it provided disaster aid for his state.The drama surrounding the bill illustrated the exceedingly delicate task Democratic leaders face in the coming weeks in averting fiscal disaster and enacting both a $1 trillion infrastructure compromise and their far-reaching, $3.5 trillion social policy package. Facing immovable Republican opposition to most of their agenda and razor-thin majorities in both chambers, they must find a way to unite moderate and progressive members to cobble together the bare minimum votes needed to pass any bill.On Tuesday, House Democrats were forced to strip $1 billion that had been included in the spending legislation for Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system, after progressives — some of whom have accused Israel of human rights abuses against Palestinians — balked at its inclusion in an emergency spending package.The decision to jettison it for now infuriated some moderates in their ranks and sparked a flurry of Republican criticism. But Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, said he would bring up a bill to provide that funding later in the week under a suspension of the House rules.“I was for that, I’m still for it — we ought to do it,” Mr. Hoyer said on the House floor, adding that he had spoken to Yair Lapid, the Israeli foreign minister, earlier in the day and offered his commitment to ensuring that it would clear the House. Senate Republicans included the provision in their own version of the spending package, released late Tuesday.To help support the resettlement of Afghan refugees, the legislation would distribute billions of dollars across the federal government, including $1.7 billion to help provide emergency housing, English language classes, and other support to refugees. It would also provide $1.8 billion for the State Department, to cover the cost of evacuations and essential assistance for refugees.The bill provides $2.2 billion for the Pentagon, and requires a report on how the funds are spent and oversight of the treatment and living conditions for refugees at any Defense Department facility. And it requires that the administration report to Congress on military property, equipment and supplies that were either destroyed, removed from or left in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of American troops.Disaster aid, according to a summary provided by the House Appropriations Committee, is intended to address the damage caused by Hurricanes Ida, Delta, Zeta, and Laura, wildfires, droughts, winter storms, and other instances of natural devastation. More

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    As Infrastructure Bill Nears Key Vote, Deficit Takes Back Seat

    Many Republicans are disregarding the deficit impact for the sprawling infrastructure bill, but intend to change course for looming battles on social spending and the debt ceiling.WASHINGTON — The bipartisan shrug that greeted the news that the Senate’s infrastructure bill contains $256 billion worth of deficit spending marked a new moment in the post-Trump era, one that highlighted how deficits matter only situationally to Republicans and inflation fears ebb and flow, depending on the politics of the issue.With a key test vote on the infrastructure measure expected around noon on Saturday, the Republican Party’s blasé attitude toward deficits will last only a matter of days.By early next week, with the bill likely passed, Democratic leaders will have to decide how to deal with a looming crisis: the approaching statutory limit on how much the Treasury can borrow to finance the government’s debt.They will also be pressing for Senate passage of a budget resolution intended to speed approval of $3.5 trillion in spending on health care, education, child care, immigration and other social policies, much of which would be paid for by tax increases on corporations and the wealthy.And the muffled murmurs from Republicans over infrastructure costs will give way to howls of outrage.“That will be an extraordinary debate of enormous dimension,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, predicted. “I can’t think of a single issue that underscores the difference between the two parties more than the reckless tax-and-spending spree that we’ll be dealing with here in the next week or two.”In the past, the Congressional Budget Office has loomed like the sword of Damocles over delicate legislative compromises, a nonpartisan scorekeeper whose rulings on the nation’s finances and fortunes could sink or propel hard-fought policy measures. The budget office’s prediction that successive Republican measures to replace the Affordable Care Act would cost tens of millions of Americans their health insurance effectively doomed those efforts.But the 10-year price tag the budget office put out this week for the bipartisan infrastructure bill changed no minds, even though it reported that the measure would tack a quarter trillion dollars to an already swollen sea of federal red ink. Many Republicans are beginning to regard spending on highways, bridges, rail lines and broadband the way Democrats have for years — as a long-term investment in the nation’s economic future that need not cause short-term deficit heartburn, especially when borrowing costs are at rock-bottom rates.The federal budget deficit has reached staggering proportions, driven by successive pandemic rescue packages, an economic collapse and the huge 2017 tax cut signed by President Donald J. Trump. Without counting the costs of the infrastructure or social policy bills, the C.B.O. had projected the deficit for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30 would reach $3 trillion; the federal debt held by the public will exceed the size of the entire economy. Within 10 years, that debt is poised to equal 106 percent of the economy, the highest level in the nation’s history.Despite a resurgent coronavirus, the economy appears to be recovering. Employers added 943,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department reported Friday, and Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, acknowledged in late July that inflation remained a real risk in the near term“We think that some of it will fall away naturally as the process of reopening the economy moves through,” Mr. Powell said of inflation, before adding, “It could take some time.”But the federal spending of the Trump era appears to have given his party permission to put austerity in the rearview mirror, at least for some measures.In a statement on Thursday in response to the C.B.O. price tag, Senators Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, and Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, the two lead negotiators on the infrastructure deal, defended the bipartisan legislation as “a historic investment in our nation’s core infrastructure needs.”That rationale reflected longstanding arguments from liberals, which Mr. Portman and Ms. Sinema decidedly are not.“Almost every state, county and private-sector organization pays for ongoing operating expenses with ongoing revenue, and pays for physical infrastructure with debt financing,” Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, said on Friday. “Anything that provides value over a long period of time should be paid for over a long period of time. This isn’t some wacky new political philosophy; it’s just smart money management.”And because Democrats have vowed to pay for their social policy spending with tax increases and other measures, such as allowing Medicare to bargain for lower drug prices, that legislation will not increase the deficit, said Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland and a member of the Senate Budget Committee.“We are going to be paying for the American Family Plan; we are going to offset those investments, and yet you’re going to have Republicans again shedding crocodile tears over the deficit,” he said.“There is a good faith discussion about how much spending is too much,” Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said this week.Stefani Reynolds for The New York TimesTreasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen is undergoing her own reappraisal of deficit spending. In recent years, she expressed concern about the nation’s fiscal situation, even suggesting that raising taxes and cutting retirement spending would be wise. But since becoming the Treasury chief, she has espoused the view that, with interest rates at historic lows, now is the time for big spending.“There is a good faith discussion about how much spending is too much,” Ms. Yellen said during a speech in Atlanta this week. “But if we are going to make these investments, now is fiscally the most strategic time to make them.”Those arguments are hurtling toward a separate but politically connected issue: the government’s statutory borrowing limit. The official deadline to raise the debt limit came and went at the beginning of the month, forcing Ms. Yellen to employ “extraordinary measures” to keep the nation from defaulting on its debt and provoking a global economic crisis..css-1xzcza9{list-style-type:disc;padding-inline-start:1em;}.css-3btd0c{font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.375rem;color:#333;margin-bottom:0.78125rem;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-3btd0c{font-size:1.0625rem;line-height:1.5rem;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}}.css-3btd0c strong{font-weight:600;}.css-3btd0c em{font-style:italic;}.css-w739ur{margin:0 auto 5px;font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.125rem;line-height:1.3125rem;color:#121212;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-w739ur{font-family:nyt-cheltenham,georgia,’times new roman’,times,serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.375rem;line-height:1.625rem;}@media (min-width:740px){#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-w739ur{font-size:1.6875rem;line-height:1.875rem;}}@media (min-width:740px){.css-w739ur{font-size:1.25rem;line-height:1.4375rem;}}.css-9s9ecg{margin-bottom:15px;}.css-16ed7iq{width:100%;display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-align-items:center;-webkit-box-align:center;-ms-flex-align:center;align-items:center;-webkit-box-pack:center;-webkit-justify-content:center;-ms-flex-pack:center;justify-content:center;padding:10px 0;background-color:white;}.css-pmm6ed{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-align-items:center;-webkit-box-align:center;-ms-flex-align:center;align-items:center;}.css-pmm6ed > :not(:first-child){margin-left:5px;}.css-5gimkt{font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size:0.8125rem;font-weight:700;-webkit-letter-spacing:0.03em;-moz-letter-spacing:0.03em;-ms-letter-spacing:0.03em;letter-spacing:0.03em;text-transform:uppercase;color:#333;}.css-5gimkt:after{content:’Collapse’;}.css-rdoyk0{-webkit-transition:all 0.5s ease;transition:all 0.5s ease;-webkit-transform:rotate(180deg);-ms-transform:rotate(180deg);transform:rotate(180deg);}.css-eb027h{max-height:5000px;-webkit-transition:max-height 0.5s ease;transition:max-height 0.5s ease;}.css-6mllg9{-webkit-transition:all 0.5s ease;transition:all 0.5s ease;position:relative;opacity:0;}.css-6mllg9:before{content:”;background-image:linear-gradient(180deg,transparent,#ffffff);background-image:-webkit-linear-gradient(270deg,rgba(255,255,255,0),#ffffff);height:80px;width:100%;position:absolute;bottom:0px;pointer-events:none;}.css-uf1ume{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;-ms-flex-pack:justify;justify-content:space-between;}.css-wxi1cx{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-flex-direction:column;-ms-flex-direction:column;flex-direction:column;-webkit-align-self:flex-end;-ms-flex-item-align:end;align-self:flex-end;}.css-12vbvwq{background-color:white;border:1px solid #e2e2e2;width:calc(100% – 40px);max-width:600px;margin:1.5rem auto 1.9rem;padding:15px;box-sizing:border-box;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-12vbvwq{padding:20px;width:100%;}}.css-12vbvwq:focus{outline:1px solid #e2e2e2;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-12vbvwq{border:none;padding:10px 0 0;border-top:2px solid #121212;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-rdoyk0{-webkit-transform:rotate(0deg);-ms-transform:rotate(0deg);transform:rotate(0deg);}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-eb027h{max-height:300px;overflow:hidden;-webkit-transition:none;transition:none;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-5gimkt:after{content:’See more’;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-6mllg9{opacity:1;}.css-qjk116{margin:0 auto;overflow:hidden;}.css-qjk116 strong{font-weight:700;}.css-qjk116 em{font-style:italic;}.css-qjk116 a{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;text-underline-offset:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:visited{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}In a letter to Congress on Monday, Ms. Yellen warned lawmakers that they needed to take action to protect the “full faith and credit of the United States” and said she was already taking steps to stave off a default.Most analysts expect that the drop-dead deadline is sometime before November.Ms. Yellen has been reminding lawmakers who are reluctant to lift the debt limit that doing so does not authorize future spending; it merely allows the government to pay for expenditures that Congress has already enacted. That includes Mr. Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut.Mr. McConnell has threatened to withhold all Republican votes from a debt ceiling increase, a stance that Mr. Hollen called “part of a pattern of hypocrisy.” Republicans repeatedly raised the debt ceiling during the Trump years, even after their tax cut. But they have provoked a series of crises when a Democrat is in the White House.Even some conservatives say Republican inconsistency is undermining the party’s case for fiscal rectitude.“Republicans would have much more credibility on the debt ceiling argument if they weren’t about to vote to add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit” on the infrastructure bill, said Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and a former economic aide to Mr. Portman.Democrats have a decision to make in the next few days. They could add an increase in the debt ceiling to their upcoming budget resolution, ensuring that the borrowing limit could be raised without the need for any Republican votes this fall. But that option would come with political costs: to do it, Senate rules require that the provision includes a hard number for the debt ceiling increase, like $10 trillion, which Republicans would say, inaccurately, is the true cost of the social policy bill.That is very much what Republicans want.“I think the majority has to solve this — they control the House and the Senate and the White House,” Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of Republican leadership, told reporters this week.If the debt ceiling is instead raised through a separate measure, the bill could simply set a date for the next debt ceiling increase, without a dollar number. But that would take Republican votes in the Senate to break a filibuster, votes Mr. McConnell has said he will not supply.Republicans have argued that debt ceiling showdowns have long been used to force a reluctant Congress to examine the structural issues that drive up debt. The debt ceiling crisis of 2011 forced both parties to accept the Budget Control Act, which reined in spending for nearly a decade, until it lapsed under Mr. Trump.“You can’t keep increasing the debt limit over and over again without some kind of reform that starts to address the fundamental issue, and that is deficit spending that goes out as far as we can see,” Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana, told Punchbowl News.That argument has Democrats livid, because the debt increase they must address was largely incurred through spending by Republicans.“This is Trump tax cut debt and Covid debt,” Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, said. “The United States will pay its bills.”Jeanna Smialek More

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    $1 Trillion Infrastructure Deal Scales Senate Hurdle With Bipartisan Vote

    The vote was a breakthrough after weeks of wrangling among White House officials and senators in both parties, clearing the way for action on a top priority for President Biden.WASHINGTON — The Senate voted on Wednesday to take up a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that would make far-reaching investments in the nation’s public works system, as Republicans joined Democrats in clearing the way for action on a crucial piece of President Biden’s agenda.The 67-to-32 vote, which included 17 Republicans in favor, came just hours after centrist senators in both parties and the White House reached a long-sought compromise on the bill, which would provide about $550 billion in new federal money for roads, bridges, rail, transit, water and other physical infrastructure programs.Among those in support of moving forward was Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader and a longtime foil of major legislation pushed by Democratic presidents. Mr. McConnell’s backing signaled that his party was — at least for now — open to teaming with Democrats to enact the plan.The deal still faces several obstacles to becoming law, including being turned into formal legislative text and clearing final votes in the closely divided Senate and House. But the vote was a victory for a president who has long promised to break through the partisan gridlock gripping Congress and accomplish big things supported by members of both political parties.If enacted, the measure would be the largest infusion of federal money into the public works system in more than a decade.The compromise, which was still being written on Wednesday, includes $110 billion for roads, bridges and major projects; $66 billion for passenger and freight rail; $39 billion for public transit; $65 billion for broadband; $17 billion for ports and waterways; and $46 billion to help states and cities prepare for droughts, wildfires, flooding and other consequences of climate change, according to a White House official who detailed it on the condition of anonymity.In a lengthy statement, Mr. Biden hailed the deal as “the most significant long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century.”He also framed it as vindication of his belief in bipartisanship.“Neither side got everything they wanted in this deal,” Mr. Biden said. “But that’s what it means to compromise and forge consensus — the heart of democracy. As the deal goes to the entire Senate, there is still plenty of work ahead to bring this home. There will be disagreements to resolve and more compromise to forge along the way.”That was evident on Wednesday even as the president and senators in both parties cheered their agreement. In negotiating it, Mr. Biden and Democratic leaders were forced to agree to concessions, accepting less new federal money for public transit and clean energy projects than they had wanted, including for some electric vehicle charging stations, and abandoning their push for additional funding for tax enforcement at the I.R.S. (A senior Democratic aide noted that Democrats secured an expansion of existing transit and highway programs compared with 2015, the last time such legislation was passed.)The changes — and the omission of some of their highest priorities — rankled progressives in both chambers, with some threatening to oppose the bill unless it was modified.“From what we have heard, having seen no text, this bill is going to be status quo, 1950s policy with a little tiny add-on,” said Representative Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon, a Democrat and the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.“If it’s what I think it is,” he added, “I will be opposed.”Still, the bipartisan compromise was a crucial component of Mr. Biden’s $4 trillion economic agenda, which Democrats plan to pair with a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that would provide additional spending for climate, health care and education, to be muscled through Congress over Republican objections.The Infrastructure Plan: What’s In and What’s OutComparing the infrastructure plan President Biden proposed in March with the one the Senate may take up soon.The vote to move forward with the infrastructure bill came after weeks of haggling by a bipartisan group of senators and White House officials to translate an outline they agreed on late last month into legislation. Just last week, Senate Republicans had unanimously blocked consideration of the plan, saying there were too many unresolved disputes. But by Wednesday, after several days of frenzied talks and late-night phone calls and texts among senators and White House officials, the negotiators announced they were ready to proceed.“We look forward to moving ahead, and having the opportunity to have a healthy debate here in the chamber regarding an incredibly important project for the American people,” said Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio and a lead negotiator.Many of the bill’s spending provisions remain unchanged from the original agreement. But it appeared that it pared spending in a few areas, including reducing money for public transit to $39 billion from $49 billion, and eliminating a $20 billion “infrastructure bank” that was meant to catalyze private investment in large projects. Negotiators were unable to agree on the structure of the bank and terms of its financing authority, so they removed it altogether.The loss of the infrastructure bank appeared to cut in half the funding for electric vehicle charging stations that administration officials had said was included in the original agreement, jeopardizing Mr. Biden’s promise to create a network of 500,000 charging stations nationwide.The new agreement appears to cut funding in half for the Biden administration’s proposal on electric vehicle charging stations.Frederic J. Brown/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesThe new agreement also included significant changes to how the infrastructure spending will be paid for, after Republicans resisted supporting a pillar of the original framework: increased revenues from an I.R.S. crackdown on tax cheats, which was to have supplied nearly one-fifth of the funding for the plan.In place of those lost revenues, negotiators agreed to repurpose more than $250 billion from previous pandemic aid legislation, including $50 billion from expanded unemployment benefits that have been canceled prematurely this summer by two dozen Republican governors, according to a fact sheet reviewed by The New York Times. That is more than double the repurposed money in the original deal.The new agreement would save $50 billion by delaying a Medicare rebate rule passed under President Donald J. Trump and raise nearly $30 billion by applying tax information reporting requirements to cryptocurrency. It also proposes to recoup $50 billion in fraudulently paid unemployment benefits during the pandemic.Fiscal hawks were quick to dismiss some of those financing mechanisms as overly optimistic or accounting gimmicks, and warned that the agreement would add to the federal budget deficit over time. But business groups and some moderates in Washington quickly praised the deal.Jack Howard, the senior vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has worked for months to broker a bipartisan deal that does not include a corporate tax increase, said the spending in the agreement “will provide enormous benefits for the American people and the economy.”“Our nation has been waiting for infrastructure modernization for over a decade,” he said, “and this is a critical step in the process.”During a lunch on Wednesday, the Republicans who spearheaded the deal passed out binders containing a summary of what could be a 1,000-page bill. The group of 10 core negotiators ultimately held a celebratory news conference where they thanked their colleagues in both parties for their support.“It’s not perfect but it’s, I think, in a good place,” said Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina, who voted in favor of taking up the bill.Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, expressed optimism about the new agreement.T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York TimesAfter the vote Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, expressed optimism that the Senate would be able to pass not just the bipartisan infrastructure package, but the $3.5 trillion budget blueprint needed to unlock the far more expansive reconciliation package to carry the remainder of Mr. Biden’s agenda.“My goal remains to pass both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution during this work period — both,” Mr. Schumer said, warning of “long nights” and weekend sessions. “We are going to get the job done, and we are on track.”Democrats still must maneuver the bill through the evenly divided Senate, maintaining the support of all 50 Democrats and independents and at least 10 Republicans. That could take at least a week, particularly if Republicans opposed to it opt to slow the process. Should the measure clear the Senate, it would also have to pass the House, where some liberal Democrats have balked at the emerging details.But Republicans who negotiated the deal urged their colleagues to support a measure they said would provide badly needed funding for infrastructure projects across the country.“I am amazed that there are some who oppose this, just because they think that if you ever get anything done somehow it’s a sign of weakness,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana.Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California has repeatedly said she will not take up the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the House until the far more ambitious $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill passes the Senate.Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, the lead Democratic negotiator of the infrastructure deal and a key moderate vote, issued a statement on Wednesday saying that she did not support a plan that costly, though she would not seek to block it. Those comments prompted multiple liberals in the House to threaten to reject the bipartisan agreement she helped negotiate, underscoring the fragility of the compromise.“Good luck tanking your own party’s investment on childcare, climate action, and infrastructure while presuming you’ll survive a 3 vote House margin,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, wrote in a tweet. “Especially after choosing to exclude members of color from negotiations and calling that a ‘bipartisan accomplishment.’”Reporting was contributed by More

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    A Look at What’s in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

    The White House and bipartisan lawmakers have agreed on a package that would provide funding for roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure.After weeks of debate and discussion, the White House and a bipartisan group of senators said on Wednesday that they had reached agreement on an infrastructure bill.The $1 trillion package is far smaller than the $2.3 trillion plan that President Biden had originally proposed and would provide about $550 billion in new federal money for public transit, roads, bridges, water and other physical projects over the next five years, according to a White House fact sheet. That money would be cobbled together through a range of measures, including “repurposing” stimulus funds already approved by Congress, selling public spectrum and recouping federal unemployment funds from states that ended more generous pandemic benefits early.Although Mr. Biden conceded that “neither side got everything they wanted,” he said the deal would create new union jobs and make significant investments in public transit.“This deal signals to the world that our democracy can function, deliver and do big things,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “As we did with the transcontinental railroad and the interstate highway, we will once again transform America and propel us into the future.”Lawmakers have yet to release legislative text of the bill, and although the Senate voted to advance it in an initial vote on Wednesday evening, it still faces several hurdles. But if enacted, the package would mark a significant step toward repairing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and preparing it for the 21st century.Here is a look at the bipartisan group’s agreement for the final package.Funding for roads and bridgesThe package provides $110 billion in new funding for roads, bridges and other major projects. The funds would be used to repair and rebuild with a “focus on climate change mitigation,” according to the White House.That funding would only begin to chip away at some of the nation’s pressing infrastructure needs, transportation experts say. The most recent estimate by the American Society of Civil Engineers found that the nation’s roads and bridges have a $786 billion backlog of needed repairs.Highway and pedestrian safety programs would receive $11 billion under the deal. Traffic deaths, which have increased during the pandemic, have taken a particular toll on people of color, according to a recent analysis from the Governors Highway Safety Association. Traffic fatalities among Black people jumped 23 percent in 2020 from the year before, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In comparison, traffic fatalities among white people increased 4 percent during the same time period.The deal also includes funding dedicated to “reconnecting communities” by removing freeways or other past infrastructure projects that ran through Black neighborhoods and other communities of color. Although Mr. Biden originally proposed investing $20 billion in the new program, the latest deal includes only $1 billion.Investments in public transitPublic buses, subways and trains would receive $39 billion in new funding, which would be used to repair aging infrastructure and modernize and expand transit service across the country.While the amount of new funding for public transit was scaled back from a June proposal, which included $49 billion, the Biden administration said it would be the largest federal investment in public transit in history.Yet the funds might not be enough to fully modernize the country’s public transit system. According to a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers, there is a $176 billion backlog for transit investments.Big investments in rail and freight linesThe deal would inject $66 billion in rail to address Amtrak’s maintenance backlog, along with upgrading the high-traffic Northeast corridor from Washington to Boston (a route frequented by East Coast lawmakers). It would also expand rail service outside the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.Mr. Biden frequently points to his connection to Amtrak, which began in the 1970s, when he would travel home from Washington to Delaware every night to care for his two sons while serving in the Senate. The new funding would be the largest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak was created 50 years ago, according to the administration, and would come as the agency tries to significantly expand its service nationwide by 2035.Clean water initiativesThe package would invest $55 billion in clean drinking water, which would be enough to replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines. While Congress banned lead water pipes three decades ago, more than 10 million older ones remain, resulting in unsafe lead levels in cities and towns across the country.Beefing up electric vehiclesTo address the effects of climate change, the deal would invest $7.5 billion in building out the nation’s network of electric vehicle charging stations, which could help entice more drivers to switch to such cars by getting rid of so-called charger deserts. The package would also expand America’s fleet of electric school buses by investing $2.5 billion in zero-emission buses.Funding the investmentsHow to pay for the spending has been one of the most contentious areas, with Republicans opposed to Mr. Biden’s plan to raise taxes and empower the I.R.S. to help pay for the package. Instead, the bipartisan group has agreed on a series of so-called pay-fors that largely repurpose already-approved funds, rely on accounting changes to raise funds and, in some cases, assume the projects will ultimately pay for themselves.The biggest funding source is $205 billion that the group says will come from “repurposing of certain Covid relief dollars.” The government has approved trillions in pandemic stimulus funds, and much, but not all, of it has been allocated. The proposal does not specify which money will be repurposed, but Republicans have pushed for the Treasury Department to take back funds from the $350 billion that Democrats approved in March to help states, local governments and tribes deal with pandemic-related costs.Another $53 billion is assumed to come from states that ended more generous federal unemployment benefits early and return that money to the Treasury Department. An additional $28 billion is pegged to requiring more robust reporting around cryptocurrencies, and $56 billion is presumed to come from economic growth “resulting from a 33 percent return on investment in these long-term infrastructure projects.” More