Biden cancels trip with agenda under threat, debt crisis looming

September 29, 2021 / 6:38 AM
Sharjah24 – AFP: President Joe Biden postponed a Wednesday trip to Chicago to stay in Washington and fight for his domestic agenda, which hangs from a thread in Congress, the White House said.
Biden had been meant to address his Covid-19 vaccination policy in the Midwestern city, but his two signature legislative policies -- a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and an even bigger social spending package -- risk failing in the divided legislature.

"He will now remain at the White House tomorrow to continue working on advancing these two pieces of legislation to create jobs," an administration official said late Tuesday.

Lawmakers were also scrambling to break a deadlock over the prospect of a first-ever US debt default that would plunge the economy into a downwards spiral, alarming investors as the cliff edge draws closer.

The government is likely to run out of cash on October 18, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned, unless Congress raises the federal borrowing cap.

After that date, Treasury's funds "would be depleted quickly" and "it is uncertain whether we could continue to meet all the nation's commitments after that date," she said in a letter to congressional leaders.

The impasse fueled a selloff on Wall Street, with the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 1.6 percent lower after Yellen warned of dire consequences including debt default if lawmakers fail to act quickly.

But Republicans say they won't help raise or suspend the debt limit, despite having pressed for it under Donald Trump, because they want no part in Democrats' spending plans, including a historically large $3.5 trillion package of social reforms.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose Democrats occupy half the 100 seats in the upper chamber, attempted to raise the borrowing cap until December 2022 without any Republican votes.

He asked for the unanimous consent of the Senate to bypass the usual 60-vote threshold required for most bills to be debated and instead move straight to a vote.
September 29, 2021 / 6:38 AM

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