Congress split on debt ceiling, $3.5T spending bills


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In Washington, there are a number of important measures that are being debated along party lines. From a debt ceiling increase to an infrastructure bill, Republicans and Democrats seem unable to agree on much of anything.

U.S. Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, and Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, have expressed concerns about Democrat-led plans under consideration in the House: a more than $1 trillion plan that would deal with physical infrastructure and a $3.5 trillion package what some are calling “social” infrastructure. The second will likely face an uphill battle in the Senate even if it does ultimately come with a somewhat smaller price tag in the House, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has suggested.

So what’s the future of that social infrastructure spending?

“It depends on if they really, truly make it a bipartisan bill or whether they continue down this hyperpartisan track. Right now, it’s a hyperpartisan track,” Huizenga told News 8 over the weekend.

Meijer said the physical infrastructure bill that passed the Senate with Republican votes is more or less firm and bipartisan. It’s that second bill he’s still unhappy about.

“The $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation, massive, partisan preference wish list, it changes on an hourly basis what’s in this thing depending on who’s vote is needed to get it passed,” Meijer said. “The only thing I confident about in that bill is that it’s not good.”

Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, the chief deputy whip for the Democrats, said the most pressing issue is raising the debt ceiling. If that doesn’t happen before the government hits the limit in mid-October, the U.S. would default on some of its payments.

Kildee thinks the smaller infrastructure bill can pass. He wants to negotiate on the $3.5 trillion on.

But when it comes to the country’s borrowing power and ability to pay debts, he says, there is no room for politics.

“This place is far too partisan,” Kildee said of Congress. “Some issues are naturally partisan, some shouldn’t be, and whether or not the United States government meets its obligations, pays its debts, no matter how we got to this point — both parties contributed to creating this debt, no question about it — we ought not make it a political tool to undermine a president or a party. We ought to just pay our bills.”

The Senate has already failed once to raise the debt ceiling.  

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