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Bernie Sanders urges Democrats to vote against $1trillion bipartisan infrastructure package


Senator Bernie Sanders has urged Democrats to vote against a $1trillion bipartisan infrastructure package until the Senate first passes the $3.5trillion spending bill. 

The Vermont Democrat was among several progressive voices within the Democratic Party who have pledged to vote against the infrastructure package tomorrow.

The package has been split from the spending bill – also known as the Build Back Better bill – over fears the latter’s high price tag will dampen support and divisions within the Democratic Party regarding its contents.

‘Let’s be crystal clear. If the bipartisan infrastructure bill is passed on its own on Thursday, this will be in violation of an agreement that was reached within the Democratic Caucus in Congress,’ Sanders said in a series of tweets on Tuesday.

‘More importantly, it will end all leverage that we have to pass a major reconciliation bill. That means there will be no serious effort to address the long-neglected crises facing the working families of our country, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor.’ 

Sanders went on to say that passing the infrastructure package ahead of the spending bill would also allow Congress to ‘continue to ignore the existential threat to our country and planet with regard to climate change.’

Senator Bernie Sanders (pictured) has urged Democrats to vote against a $1trillion bipartisan infrastructure package until the Senate first passes the $3.5trillion spending bill

Sanders was among several progressive voices within the Democratic Party who have pledged to vote against the infrastructure package tomorrow. Pictured: Sanders (left) speaks to a reporter outside the Capitol on Tuesday

Sanders was among several progressive voices within the Democratic Party who have pledged to vote against the infrastructure package tomorrow. Pictured: Sanders (left) speaks to a reporter outside the Capitol on Tuesday

‘I strongly urge my House colleagues to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill until Congress passes a strong reconciliation bill.’

JPMorgan Chase is preparing for ‘potentially catastrophic’ US default

On Tuesday, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase said the bank is preparing for the possibility of the U.S. hitting its debt limit.

Jamie Dimon told Reuters that, the bank has begun scenario-planning for how a potential U.S. credit default would affect the repo and money markets, client contracts, its capital ratios, and how ratings agencies would react.

‘This is like the third time we’ve had to do this, it is a potentially catastrophic event,’ he said, referring to prior Congressional deadlocks over federal debt limits.

‘Every single time this comes up, it gets fixed, but we should never even get this close. 

‘I just think this whole thing is mistaken and one day we should just have a bipartisan bill and get rid of the debt ceiling. It’s all politics,’ he added. 

With federal funding due to expire on Thursday and a potential debt default by October 18, Democrats who narrowly control the Senate and House are racing to head off fiscal disaster while also trying to pass the ambitious spending package.  

Sanders’ comments come after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told lawmakers on Monday that she planned to bring the infrastructure bill up for a vote this week.

Negotiations on the $3.5trillion spending bill, which contains progressive measures including programs for social support and green energy investment, are ongoing. 

Moderates and conservatives within the Democrats have so far failed to agree on what they would accept in the social safety net package, which has complicated negotiations led by President Joe Biden and other Democrat leaders. 

There is also division within the Republican Party over the bill, but in both cases the sticking points are not clear. 

Pelosi had previously vowed to pass the bills together but reversed the decision earlier this week, while still pledging to pass both bills.

Concerns have been mounting that the progressive and expensive spending bill may cancel out support for the infrastructure package.

Moderate Republicans including Senator Joe Manchin have voiced support for the bipartisan infrastructure package but have said they will not vote for the spending bill. 

‘Holding one hostage over the other is not fair — it’s not right, it’s not good for the country,’ Manchin said on Tuesday. 

‘You have to have trust a little bit, you know. Everybody’s not going to get what they want,’ he added. ‘But let’s find out what the country needs’.

In an effort to get negotiations moving, Biden on Tuesday cancelled a trip to Chicago to meet with Manchin and others in an attempt to iron out differences over what is likely to be one of his key pieces of domestic legislation. 

The splitting of the two pieces of legislation has angered progressives within the Democratic party, including Sanders, who want the infrastructure spending to go hand in hand with a commitment to spending elsewhere.  

Senator Cori Bush echoed Sanders’ comments, writing in a tweet: ‘We made a deal. Now that it’s been announced that the infrastructure bill will come to a vote on Thursday, let me be absolutely clear. I will not support it without first passing the Build Back Better Act.’

Sanders' comments come after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (pictured) told lawmakers on Monday that she planned to bring the infrastructure bill up for a vote this week. Pelosi had previously vowed to pass the bills together but appears to have reversed her decision

Sanders’ comments come after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (pictured) told lawmakers on Monday that she planned to bring the infrastructure bill up for a vote this week. Pelosi had previously vowed to pass the bills together but appears to have reversed her decision

Moderates and conservatives within the Democrats have so far failed to agree on what they would accept in the spending bill, which has complicated negotiations led by President Joe Biden (pictured) and other Democrat leaders

Moderates and conservatives within the Democrats have so far failed to agree on what they would accept in the spending bill, which has complicated negotiations led by President Joe Biden (pictured) and other Democrat leaders

Pramila Jayapal, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has also pledged to vote against the infrastructure bill on its current timetable.       

‘We articulated this position more than three months ago, and today it is still unchanged: Progressives will vote for both bills, but a majority of our members will only vote for the infrastructure bill after the president’s visionary Build Back Better Act passes,’ Jayapal said.

Senator Rashida Tlaib added her voice to the criticism, tweeting: ‘Let me be clear: bringing the so-called bipartisan infrastructure plan to a vote without the #BuildBackBetter Act at the same time is a betrayal. We will hold the line and vote it down.’    

The vote comes as federal funding is due to expire on Thursday, prompting a looming government shut down. 

JPMorgan Chase has begun preparing for the possibility of the U.S. hitting its debt limit, CEO Jamie Dimon told Reuters on Tuesday, while adding that he expected policymakers to find a solution to avoid that ‘potentially catastrophic’ event.

With federal funding due to expire on Thursday and a potential debt default by October 18, Democrats who narrowly control the Senate and House are racing to head off fiscal disaster while also trying to pass the ambitious spending package. 

JPMorgan, the country’s largest bank, has begun scenario-planning for how a potential U.S. credit default would affect the repo and money markets, client contracts, its capital ratios, and how ratings agencies would react, Dimon said in an interview. 

‘This is like the third time we’ve had to do this, it is a potentially catastrophic event,’ he said, referring to prior Congressional deadlocks over federal debt limits.

‘Every single time this comes up, it gets fixed, but we should never even get this close. I just think this whole thing is mistaken and one day we should just have a bipartisan bill and get rid of the debt ceiling. It’s all politics,’ he added. 

Congressional Democrats are scrambling to find a way to raise the government’s $28.4-trillion borrowing cap before the Treasury Department runs out of ways to service the nation’s debt. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the Treasury will likely exhaust extraordinary measures by October 18, potentially triggering the first federal credit default in history.



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