“A week from hell” is how Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell described what’s in store for Congress this coming week.
She was speaking with CNN on Sunday about the week ahead in Washington, which includes contending with the infrastructure plan, debt ceiling and budget reconciliation, all at once.
It’s Washington sausage-making that’s going to affect nearly every American family because what’s happening is a kitchen table economics realignment.
The first issue is the infrastructure bill, which deals with investments that nearly every family will feel as they cross bridges and drive on roads. The end game is to create better commute times, lower vehicle maintenance costs and lower food prices because the bridges and roads that farmers currently travel, in theory, would be better.
The Biden administration thinks much-needed investments are necessary in EV charging stations, the power grid, high speed Internet, clean water, airports and public transportation. It’s wrapped in hell week, but it’s a simple intelligence test.
The Build Back Better plan has a goal of providing two free years of community college, lowering childcare and healthcare costs and offering universal pre-K. Investments in climate resilience, subsidies for Obamacare, paid sick and maternity leave and more Pell grants are part of this plan. In addition seniors would benefit from more Medicare coverage, that would include hearing aids, dental care and eye care. It’s a 10-year wish list that will amount to a whopping $33.5 trillion.
While Republicans hate the idea because, according to Democrats, it’s the “most meaningful expansion of the safety net since LBJ’s Great Society or FDR’s New Deal,” Democrats like it. However, there is some infighting over the size and process of the plan.
Sen. Pat Toomey, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said Democrats are in the midst of “a very damaging spending spree on a scale that we have never seen, and they want us to come along and authorize the borrowing to help pay for it.”
His comment was in regard to raising the debt ceiling, which seems to be the latest political game with America’s credit card limit. If the debt ceiling is not raised, the Treasury Department cannot borrow money to cover the bills for what Congress has already spent.
In addition, Americans would potentially be issued IOUs in lieu of Social Security checks, troop pay and child tax credits, as the Treasury would have to pick and choose which bills to pay.
Not only would a short default cost the government billions more in borrowing costs, but it could potentially spike interest rates for Americans and cause a financial crisis.
The latter is not something we need, as we’re still trying to recover from the fallout caused by businesses closing, following the pandemic shut-down.
All eyes will be on Washington this week, as they try to navigate through these murky financial waters. Let’s hope the end result doesn’t hurt too much, but we suspect it will.