…and welcome to our coverage of the day in US politics.
It might not be a very good day for Democrats in Washington, from Joe Biden in the White House down to leaders, at least, in the House and the Senate. It will at least be a very busy one.
On Sunday night, the Senate parliamentarian delivered a blow to progressives in the party when she said they could not include a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants in the gargantuan spending bill they are hoping to pass via reconciliation, meaning by majority alone in the Senate. Majority leader Chuck Schumer indicated he would have another think.
Furthermore, efforts to keep the party together on that $3.5tn spending package, difficult at the best of times, seem to be fraying quite badly. Senior party figures have indicated a promised House vote on a bipartisan infrastructure deal meant to be paired with the spending bill might be delayed. That would anger progressives, while moderates continue to feel queasy about the bigger spending package.
In the Senate, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, two key moderates in a chamber split 50-50, have doubts about the spending bill and have reportedly voiced them, Manchin to constituents and Sinema to Biden, in the Oval Office.
On top of all that, there are 10 days left to sort out government funding and avoid a shutdown, while in the Senate the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, is refusing to play ball on raising the debt limit, which the US must soon do. That’s rather unprecedented but McConnell is gonna McConnell – the author of a memoir called The Long Game has his eye on the midterms in 2022, as well as beating back/appeasing the Trumpist wave in his own party and keeping hold of the reins.
In the midst of all this, Joe Biden is due to fly to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, with questions about the rise of China, the withdrawal from Afghanistan and of course much more buzzing around the big modern building on the banks of the rolling East River.
Expect a busy day. Here to set you up is Lauren Gambino’s excellent primer on what all the machinations in Congress might mean for Biden’s legacy and the Democrats’ hold on power: