Infrastructure Month? Congressional Leaders Set October Deadline For Spending Bills

The Senate and House leaders have established an October deadline to complete two major spending bills currently being negotiated by Congress. This is a new start on a process that top Democrats have been repeatedly forced to delay due to divisions within their party.

WASHINGTON DC - September 29: Senate Majority leader Charles Schumer (D.NY) arrives at U.S.... [+] Capitol in Washington, DC on September 29, 2021. The Senate is currently considering voting on a continuing solution that would prevent government shutdowns by funding the government until December. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images). Getty Images

The Key Facts

According to a transcript from his office, Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, stated that he would like to finish both the $1.2 trillion bill focusing on core infrastructure and the larger budget reconciliation bill focusing on social spending within the next month. Schumer said the two packages were the most important legislation to aid working families since the new deal of former President Franklin Roosevelt. He also stated that it is possible for Congress to pass them both, even though it may take a while. This comment came after Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, stated in a letter to House Democrats that there must be a vote for the infrastructure bill before the surface transportation funding bill passed last week by Congress expires on October 31. Pelosis' letter implies that the reconciliation bill will be finished by then due to progressive demands that the package be passed prior to the infrastructure bill, and Pelosis inability to hold votes on bills which don't have the votes.

Important Background

Pelosi reached a deal with a group moderate members in August to hold a September 27 vote regarding the infrastructure bill. The vote was delayed indefinitely after it became clear that progressives would not compromise their opposition to the infrastructure bill without reconciliation.

Big Number

$3.5 trillion This is the size of the reconciliation bill. However, it won't likely be the final price tag. On Friday, President Joe Biden stated to House Democrats that he expected the bill to be larger than $2 trillion. Top Democrats in Congress, progressive leaders, and the White House said Sunday in interviews that the final price tag would likely come down to a compromise with moderates.

Chief Critic

Moderate Republicans are scathing about Pelosi and Biden over the delay vote and Biden's framing linking of the two packages. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb. The former strong supporter for the infrastructure bill, he said Friday that he wasn't sure and that many other Republicans who had planned to vote in favor of the bill were now unable to decide.