Speed Reads

now or never

The 3 deadlines that made this Congress' 'week from hell'

Congress has a lot on its hands in the next few days. So much so, that Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) called it the "week from hell."

So, what's in store? Lawmakers are facing three upcoming deadlines — first, they're trying to avoid a government shutdown by Thursday, then they'll try to figure out some way to raise the debt limit before the U.S. defaults in a few weeks, and finally, Democrats are trying to pass the dual-track bipartisan infrastructure and $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bills. The last deadline was of their own creation, and it's already been pushed back from Monday to Thursday.

The Senate will lead things off with a test vote on government funding on Monday, but Republicans remain determined to block it because Democrats have included a measure to raise the debt ceiling in the package, and the GOP is trying to force them to do so without their help. 

Meanwhile, the infrastructure bill is pretty much ready to go, but because it's linked to the reconciliation bill — which is still the subject of a heated debate between progressive and moderate Democrats — it remains to be seen if it will actually come to the House floor on Thursday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is confident it will, but she has also made it clear she won't push a vote that could fail, so another delay isn't off the table unless some sort of intra-party agreement is reached.

It sounds like a lot is up in the air, but political scientist Matt Grossman thinks the outcome is actually pretty clear. He believes Democrats will eventually remove the debt item before Thursday and pass a "clean" government funding bill, prevent a shutdown, and then focus on lifting the limit later. He also doesn't foresee an agreement on the reconciliation, which means Democrats will just have to decide if they want to detach it from the infrastructure bill.