As President Biden decamps for a global climate summit in Scotland, he leaves major legislative issues unresolved. A deal with Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema slimming down the Biden-Sanders welfare state expansion, nominally priced at $3.5 trillion, remains elusive. There’s no fiscal 2022 federal budget, as the government is funded with a continuing resolution through Dec. 3. The House hasn’t voted on the bipartisan infrastructure bill the Senate passed in August, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi fears its approval might doom the Biden-Sanders proposal.
Then there’s raising the debt ceiling, which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen calls “utterly essential.” Despite her plea, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hasn’t started the budget-reconciliation process, which allows Democrats to increase the debt limit by themselves, thereby avoiding a default by the U.S. on its financial obligations.