How unemployed Americans scored a big last-minute win in Biden’s infrastructure bill, cutting a $50 billion measure that could have stripped their benefits

Biden infrastructure bipartisan Senate group at White House
President Joe Biden at the White House with a bipartisan group of senators.

  • A bipartisan Senate gang dropped a $50 billion measure to generate money from slashing fraud in unemployment.
  • Experts had raised concerns that jobless people would be booted from safety net programs as a result.
  • One says paying for infrastructure by repurposing unemployment aid is “funny money” that can’t be done.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Unemployed Americans notched a major last-minute win in President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

During the tumultuous negotiations, a bipartisan gang of 10 Senate Democrats and Republicans had initially eyed netting $50 billion in revenue from shoring up the “integrity” of unemployment insurance and cutting down on fraud.

Some experts and advocates raised doubts that fraud even cost that much – and that fraud measures could worsen the lives of jobless Americans already struggling with ailing UI systems. But that provision is no longer in the bill that was released on Sunday evening after weeks of discussions, possibly due to a budgetary snag.

“At the end, there’s a lot of back and forth on what would be in and what would be out,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, one of the GOP negotiators, told Insider. “That’s one of the things that, as they say, was left on the cutting room floor.”

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, a Democratic negotiator, said it was omitted because it seemed likely that it wouldn’t show up as a major source of federal funding in a budget score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, particularly if states kept the money. Republicans want the bill to be fully paid for and not grow the deficit.

“There was some scoring problem if you have a kind of incentive for the state to be able to keep some,” he told Insider.

Some experts argued as much.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they went to CBO, and CBO said the provision was actually going to cost money or raise them close to nothing,” Marc Goldwein, head of policy at the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told Insider.

“I was a little skeptical that putting more money into that would lead to additional savings,” Andrew Stettner, an unemployment expert at the left-leaning Century Foundation, said in an interview, referring to stepping up program integrity measures.

Experts argue that the pay-fors centered on UI wouldn’t even be possible, or raise anywhere close to the money that senators claimed. For his part, Goldwein called it “gibberish,” and said that the proposal to pay for parts of the package with repurposed unemployment insurance was “complete funny money, and it’s totally made up.”

For the bill, lawmakers are attempting to reappropriate $53 billion from states that ended their enhanced unemployment insurance programs this summer. Still, the experts said that federal money can’t be pulled from one bucket and put into another for something else.

“There’s nothing they’re doing in this action that’s reducing the deficit in any way by using this money for the infrastructure bill,” Stettner said. “It’s $53 billion that’s not going to be spent.”

Some unemployed Americans who lost their benefits prematurely told Insider that the proposed repurposing particularly stings, since it’s aid money that could have kept them afloat while cases from the Delta variant surge.

“We were basically thrown under the bus,” Natasha Binggeli, an unemployed worker in South Carolina, wrote in a message to Insider.

She added: “It feels like a knife through the heart from all political parties.”

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Sen. Lindsey Graham may have exposed multiple senators to COVID-19 on Joe Manchin’s DC houseboat

From left, Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., are seen in the basement of the Capitol before the Senate Policy Luncheons on Tuesday, July 30, 2019.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin hosted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and others on his houseboat this weekend.

  • Sen. Joe Manchin hosted multiple senators, including Lindsey Graham, on his houseboat over the weekend.
  • Graham announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning.
  • Manchin and Sens. Jacky Rosen and Mark Kelly were all in contact with Graham on the boat.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, hosted a group of lawmakers on his Washington, DC houseboat over the weekend, including Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, despite being fully vaccinated.

A spokesperson for Manchin told reporters that the Democrat, who’s also vaccinated, is abiding by federal health guidelines in the wake of the possible exposure.

“Senator Manchin is fully vaccinated and following the CDC guidelines for those exposed to a COVID+ individual,” the spokesperson said.

Sen. Mark Kelly, an Arizona Democrat, and Sen. Jacky Rosen, a Nevada Democrat, also attended the gathering and came into contact with Graham, spokespeople for the lawmakers told CNN and other outlets. Both senators, who are also fully vaccinated, are following CDC guidelines and the advice of congressional health officials, their spokespeople said.

It’s unclear who else attended the gathering on Manchin’s houseboat, which is where the veteran lawmaker lives while he’s in DC. A spokesperson for Manchin didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The CDC recommends that fully-vaccinated people exposed to someone infected with COVID-19 get tested 3-5 days later and wear a mask indoors for two weeks or until they test negative for the virus.

Graham announced via tweet that he tested positive on Monday morning after coming down with “flu-like symptoms” on Saturday. Graham received the Pfizer vaccine last December and expressed relief at having been immunized prior to his infection.

“I feel like I have a sinus infection and at present time I have mild symptoms,” he wrote. “I will be quarantining for ten days. I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now. My symptoms would be far worse.”

COVID-19 cases are surging across the US, particularly in areas where vaccination rates are low. Over the last month, the US’s weekly average of new daily cases has more than quintupled: growing from just over 12,000 at the end of June to nearly 72,000 last Thursday.

New data shows that vaccinated people can still experience so-called “breakthrough infections,” although these cases are generally mild, according to the CDC. Delta is the most transmissible strain of the virus and it now makes up more than 80% of US infections.

While the House has a mask mandate in place, the Senate no longer requires masks. Almost all senators have said they’re vaccinated, while dozens of House members won’t say whether they’re vaccinated. Senate Democrats have resumed holding their leadership meetings virtually, after moving back to in-person meetings, amid the surge in cases.

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Progressive Cori Bush says ‘some Democrats went on vacation instead’ of preventing the eviction moratorium from expiring

Cori Bush
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., testifies during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing.

  • Rep. Cori Bush on Saturday accused Democrats of leaving for vacation before passing legislation that would have renewed the eviction moratorium.
  • About 7.4 million Americans are at risk of eviction in the next two months after the moratorium ends July 31.
  • The House failed to pass a bill that would have extended the moratorium and members are now on recess until August.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Cori Bush slammed Democrats, saying they decided to take a recess ahead of the upcoming eviction moratorium deadline, potentially plunging millions of renters into a state of disarray.

“We could have extended it yesterday, but some Democrats went on vacation instead,” Bush, a progressive representative from Missouri, said on Twitter Saturday morning.

“We slept at the Capitol last night to ask them to come back and do their jobs. Today’s their last chance. We’re still here,” she added, including a picture of her and several activists outside the Capitol building.

Hours after failing to pass a bill that would have extended the eviction moratorium, the House on Friday entered a recess that’ll last until August.

The eviction moratorium, set up in September 2020 in response to the financial devastation brought on by the coronavirus, was extended in June by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The White House encouraged Congress to extend the moratorium past July, giving guidance to do so at the last minute. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the Biden administration would have “strongly supported” the CDC in a decision to renew the moratorium. But a Supreme Court ruling specified that the decision to renew required congressional approval, the White House statement said.

Democrats unanimously voted to pass the bill, but Republican House members blocked the legislation.

After the bill failed, top Democrats expressed their disappointment in a statement.

“It is extremely disappointing that House and Senate Republicans have refused to work with us on this issue,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Majority whip James Clyburn after the vote failed. “We strongly urge them to reconsider their opposition to helping millions of Americans and instead join with us to help renters and landlords hit hardest by the pandemic and prevent a nationwide eviction crisis.”

Once the moratorium expires on July 31, about 7.4 million Americans will risk eviction in the next two months. That translates to about 16% of all renters, according to Census Pulse Survey Data.

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INTERVIEW: Joe Manchin says he’s ‘very much concerned’ about inflation and the national debt. He’s not committing to Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending plan yet.

Joe Manchin at Congress hearing
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

  • Sen. Joe Manchin says he’s concerned about rising inflation and the national debt.
  • “We have to be fiscally responsible,” the West Virginia Democrat told Insider.
  • Manchin didn’t rule out backing a $3.5 trillion party-line spending plan after another moderate came out against it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia says he hasn’t decided whether to back the $3.5 trillion price tag of a planned Democratic-only spending package, a major priority of President Joe Biden’s.

The key Democratic moderate said in a Friday interview that several factors would weigh into his decision, among them the increasing cost of goods and the nation’s growing debt pile. The price of gasoline, used cars, trucks, and other services has shot up as the economy started reopening and run into various crimps in supply chains.

“I’m very much concerned about inflation in our country,” Manchin told Insider, stressing how much he’s been focused on infrastructure spending and its potential costs. “I’m concerned about the debt that we’re carrying and our ability to compete on a global basis … we have to be fiscally responsible.”

On Wednesday, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona came out against the proposed price tag of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, although she committed to advancing what’s known as a budget resolution. Adopting that would pave the way for Democrats to start drafting the party-line bill, which can clear the Senate with a simple 51-vote majority instead of the 60 required for most legislation in the modern Senate to avert the filibuster.

Every Senate Democrat must stick together for the package to succeed, and Manchin is onboard for now. He told CNN on Thursday he would vote for the resolution, allowing Democrats to approve a social spending package on their own – possibly in September. He told CNN that he was “keeping an open mind” on the $3.5 trillion price tag.

The West Virginia Democrat told Insider he’s in constant communication with Sinema about her views. “We speak all the time,” Manchin said.

‘I’m not going to put any figures on anything’

Manchin touted the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, which will pour federal spending into roads, highways, bridges, broadband, and water. He was one of five Democratic negotiators who hashed out the plan with five Senate Republicans over the span of roughly a month. The plan has the full backing of Biden and top Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Its passage would set the stage for Senate Democrats to jumpstart the reconciliation process before they leave for the monthlong August recess. Manchin said his support will hinge on the plan’s contents, and didn’t rule out backing its substantial cost. Democrats want to stuff it with measures like free community college, affordable childcare, and national paid leave.

“We have a good piece of legislation that has a lot of good work,” he said. “I think out of respect for all my colleagues who’ve been working on the other budget resolution, we should give that a look and be able work on it in a really productive way.”

He added that he’s “not going to put any figures on anything” until he’s had a chance to review the full bill.

Still, Manchin suggested that his time has been overwhelmingly consumed by negotiating the bipartisan infrastructure deal, and said he hasn’t decided whether to back renewing a federal eviction ban that ends in a day. Democrats are rushing to pass a bill to renew it after Biden urged a last-minute extension.

“I’ve been wrapped up in this so much, I haven’t even seen” it, he told Insider about his work on infrastructure and his potential support for an eviction moratorium.

“We’re gonna take a very serious look at it,” he said.

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Capitol Hill staffers: tell us how your office is handling the Delta variant and new COVID-19 protocols

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi puts on her face mask on July 30, 2021.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi puts on her face mask on July 30, 2021.

  • The House of Representatives has a mask mandate again due to the rise of the Delta variant.
  • Capitol Hill staffers: tell us your office’s COVID-19 protocols, and if you feel safe at work.
  • Email us at congresstips@insider.com or message us on Signal at 1-202-567-7343.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

COVID-19 is back at the Capitol.

With the Delta variant of the coronavirus surging in the US, the Office of the Attending Physician announced this week that masks would once again be required when visiting the House of Representatives. The notice followed recent Centers for Disease Control guidance that even vaccinated people should resume wearing masks indoors in certain circumstances because they may transmit the Delta variant.

On Capitol Hill, the move prompted partisan debate, with Democrats and Republicans firing insults at each other over the reinstated mandates.

As lawmakers duke it out, Insider wants to hear from the thousands of staff who work for them about how their offices are handling the latest surge of COVID-19 – and whether they feel safe working in Congress or their district office. We’ll keep you anonymous.

What are your office’s COVID-19 policies and procedures? How have they changed due to the Delta variant? How are the protocols being communicated in your office? How do you feel about the changing policies?

If you have a copy, send a picture or screenshot. (If your office doesn’t have any rules, that’s worth telling us too.)

Email us at congresstips@insider.com or message us on Signal at 1-202-567-7343.

We’re also interested in hearing about the following if you have information:

  • Does your office require you to be vaccinated? If so, do they verify?
  • Is your office or committee complying with the newly-reinstated House mask mandate and CDC recommendations? Yes, or no?
  • Have there been COVID-19 outbreaks among staffers in the last two weeks? Have you or others had to quarantine because of potential exposure?
  • Is your office making it mandatory to work in person? Is your office mandating masks?
  • Do you agree with the new mask guidelines in the House? Why or why not?

Insider is committed to covering Capitol Hill as a workplace and telling the stories of the employees who work there, including on the burnout and low salaries staffers face. Here are some examples:

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Democrats are scrambling to renew a eviction moratorium after Biden urged extension at the last-minute

Sherrod Brown
Sherrod Brown.

  • House and Senate Democrats are scrambling to renew a federal eviction ban after Biden urged them at the last-minute.
  • In a statement to Insider, a spokesperson for Sen. Sherrod Brown said he was working with Schumer on legislation.
  • Nearly six million people are at risk of eviction starting in two days.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Congressional Democrats are rushing to assemble legislation to renew a federal eviction ban before it expires

Democrats in both chambers are trying to draft a bill and put it to a rapid vote sometime in the next two days. The moratorium expires on July 31. After that, around 6 million people are at risk of getting evicted in the coming months, or 16% of all renters, per Census Pulse Survey Data.

The Biden administration on Thursday said it would not renew a federal eviction ban and the matter was ultimately left up to Congress, citing a recent Supreme Court ruling. The high court’s decision stated that Congress needed to renew it.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said though the administration “strongly supported” renewing the federal eviction ban, the Supreme Court ruling essentially tied its hands. The administration instead called for the quick dispersal of emergency rental aid which has been slow to get to renters. Psaki also said Biden is asking various federal agencies to implement limited eviction bans through September’s end.

Banking and Housing Committee chair Sherrod Brown initially held off pushing for an extension, saying it should be left up to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency intervened and put the moratorium in place last year under President Donald Trump, citing the urgency of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Now Brown is playing a key role assembling a bill to renew it past July 31.

In a statement to Insider, a spokesperson for Brown’s office said he “supports an extension of the eviction moratorium and will work with Leader Schumer to pass legislation that will allow our nation’s renters to stay in their homes during this crisis.”

It was unclear what date House and Senate Democrats would ultimately agree on. A person familiar with the talks in the House said their version would attempt to extend it sometime until the end of the year.

Democrats in recent days had stepped up their calls for the administration to renew the ban. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranked Senate Democrat, were among them.

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Democrats outraged after the FBI said it got more than 4,500 tips about Brett Kavanaugh – and referred the ‘relevant’ ones to the Trump White House

brett kavanaugh
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

  • The FBI said it received 4,500 tips in 2018 regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
  • The agency said they only interviewed ten people and that “relevant” tips were passed to Trump’s White House.
  • A group of Democratic senators accused the FBI of ignoring the tip line and are demanding more answers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A group of Democratic senators is asking for more answers after the Federal Bureau of Investigation shared details on its handling of a supplemental background investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a nominee.

Jill Tyson, assistant director of the FBI, said in a letter on June 30 that the agency had received 4,500 tips regarding Kavanaugh and that it turned over “relevant tips” to the White House Counsel, which would have been Don McGahn at the time in 2018. Tyson also said only ten individuals were interviewed, despite thousands of tips.

Tyson’s letter was made public Thursday by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Chris Coons, who said it was a response to a letter they sent in August 2019 asking for answers about the investigation.

“This long-delayed answer confirms how badly we were spun by Director Wray and the FBI in the Kavanaugh background investigation and hearing,” Whitehouse said on Twitter Thursday, taking aim at FBI Director Chris Wray. He said it “confirms my suspicions that the ‘tip line’ was not real and that FBI tip line procedures were not followed.”

Read more: FBI director Chris Wray barely survived the Trump era. Now he’s working with Biden’s attorney general taking on domestic terrorism and probing Trump allies.

“Wray said they followed procedures, he meant the ‘procedure’ of doing whatever Trump White House Counsel told them to do. That’s misleading as hell,” he added.

A spokesperson for the FBI declined to comment when reached by Insider. An email sent to the Supreme Court seeking comment on behalf of Kavanaugh did not receive a response.

According to the FBI’s letter, the FBI passed the tips to the White House because that was the entity that requested the supplemental background check on September 13, 2018. The request was prompted by sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh that surfaced around that time. Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Tyson said the FBI had already conducted an initial background check that was completed in July 2018 and included interviews with 49 people.

Whitehouse and Coons were joined by Sens. Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy, Richard Blumenthal, Mazie Hirono, and Cory Booker in requesting more answers from the FBI.

“If the FBI was not authorized to or did not follow up on any of the tips that it received from the tip line, it is difficult to understand the point of having a tip line at all,” they wrote, saying the agency’s letter confirmed “the FBI was politically constrained by the Trump White House.”

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Democrats slam Mitch McConnell for taking economy ‘hostage’ by rallying GOP against extending US’s ability to pay its bills on time

McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump is still “liable” for his conduct in office.

  • Democrats assailed Mitch McConnell for trying to rally Republicans against raising the debt ceiling.
  • “He’s not going to be able to hold the economy hostage,” a top Democrat said Wednesday.
  • Republicans had previously backed raising the debt ceiling under Trump.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Congressional Democrats slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Wednesday for threatening to oppose an extension of the US’s ability to pay its bills, a step that could jeopardize the US’s economic recovery if Congress doesn’t act.

Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters that the national debt ballooned under President Donald Trump as a result of the pandemic and a 2017 Republican tax law that reduced the country’s tax revenue from large corporations. The debt grew $7 trillion under the Trump administration.

“Now Mitch McConnell wants to skip out on paying the bills, we are not going to let him do it. He’s not going to be able to hold the economy hostage,” Wyden said. “We are going to move this quick.”

Wyden said Democrats didn’t make political demands in exchange for supporting raising the debt ceiling while Trump was in office. He described McConnell’s move as “stallball.”

“Mitch McConnell is playing Russian roulette with this economy,” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranked Democrat in the upper chamber, told reporters.

The Kentucky Republican said in an interview published on Punchbowl News on Monday that Republicans wouldn’t strike a deal with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling, the statutory limit that the federal government can borrow to pay its bills.

McConnell said Democrats would have to do it alone through reconciliation, a legislative track that only requires a majority vote and would therefore be feasible to pass without Republican support.

Wyden declined to answer Insider when asked if it would be difficult to get all 50 Senate Democrats onboard. Still, there were signs that the Biden administration had no intention of striking a deal with the GOP.

“We expect Congress to act in a timely manner to raise or suspend the debt ceiling, as they did three times on a broad bipartisan basis during the last administration,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday. Still, Democrats have not decided how to raise the debt ceiling only nine days before it expires.

“They have to decide what the strategy is, but I do think it’s going to be easy to get Democrats onboard,” Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, told Insider on Wednesday.

The US is scheduled to hit the debt ceiling limit on July 30, two years after it was last extended. But the Treasury Department has the ability to to pay off the US’s debt on its own for a limited time and head off a default with potentially catastrophic consequences for the economy.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecasted on Wednesday the Treasury would “probably” run out of cash sometime in October or November.

Other Democrats simply shrugged off McConnell’s threat.

“‘Meh’ is my official response,” Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, a Democrat sponsoring a bill to abolish the debt ceiling, said in an interview. “Doesn’t matter, we’ll handle our business. This is something the Hill freaks out about every year or so. We will not negotiate over it, we will not concede anything and we won’t fail to do our job.

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Liz Cheney calls Kevin McCarthy’s January 6 rhetoric ‘disgraceful’ and says his lack of ‘commitment to the Constitution’ should disqualify him from being House speaker if GOP wins in 2022

liz cheney
Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, speaks to the press at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 12, 2021.

  • Rep. Liz Cheney blasted House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday over the January 6 committee.
  • She called his comments on Pelosi’s select committee “disingenuous.”
  • Cheney also said McCarthy should not be considered for the House speakership if the GOP wins in 2022.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Liz Cheney on Wednesday blasted House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy over his “disingenuous” comments about the select committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol insurrection.

“The rhetoric that we have heard from the minority leader is disingenuous,” Cheney told reporters at the Capitol, adding that the riot was “an attack on our Constitution.”

“At every opportunity, the minority leader has attempted to prevent the American people from understanding what happened to block this investigation,” she continued. “The idea that anybody would be playing politics with an attack on the United States Capitol is despicable and disgraceful.”

The Wyoming Republican further criticized McCarthy by suggesting that he should not be considered for the House speakership if the GOP wins back the House in the 2022 midterm elections.

“Any person who would be third in line to the presidency must demonstrate a commitment to the Constitution and a commitment to the rule of law, and minority leader McCarthy has not done that,” she said.

Cheney’s comments came shortly after McCarthy said House Republicans will conduct their own probe into the Capitol riot, separate from the January 6 select committee that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has launched.

It’s unclear what exactly the House GOP investigation will focus on, but McCarthy broadly pointed to the law enforcement failures on the day of the riot.

“Why was the Capitol so ill-prepared for that day … and what have we done to make sure that never happens again?” McCarthy said Wednesday.

McCarthy went on to criticize Pelosi’s efforts to investigate the insurrection, calling the committee a “sham process” and overly partisan.

The top GOP lawmaker originally recommended five House Republicans to join Pelosi’s select committee, including Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio, two Congress members who objected to the 2020 election certification on January 6.

But McCarthy pulled all of his recommendations and threatened to launch his own investigation in response to Pelosi rejecting his picks, Banks and Jordan, from serving on the committee. Pelosi agreed to McCarthy’s three other GOP appointments, Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas.

“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee,” Pelosi said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision,” she added.

Cheney backed Pelosi’s move on Wednesday, telling reporters that the top Democrat is dedicated to carrying out a serious investigation, whereas McCarthy is not.

Pelosi picked Cheney to serve on the select committee earlier this month. The lawmaker has been ostracized by her GOP colleagues, including McCarthy, who voted to oust her from her leadership position in May over her pushback on former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.

“The American people deserve to know what happened. People who did this must be held accountable,” Cheney said Wednesday. “There must be an investigation that is nonpartisan, that is sober, that is serious, that gets to the facts wherever they may lead.”

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Mitch McConnell says GOP won’t strike a deal with Democrats for the US to pay its bills on time, raising risk of derailing the economic recovery

mitch mcconnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., does a cable news interview before the start of a two-week recess, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

  • McConnell ruled out GOP cooperation with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.
  • “I can’t imagine there will be a single Republican voting to raise the debt ceiling after what we’ve been experiencing,” McConnell told Punchbowl News.
  • Treasury Secretary Yellen warned of an “absolutely catastrophic” hit to the recovery if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he doesn’t envision any Congressional Republicans voting alongside Democrats to renew the federal government’s authority to pay its bills.

That raises the prospects of derailing the economic recovery if the debt limit isn’t raised quickly enough.

“I can’t imagine a single Republican in this environment that we’re in now – this free-for-all for taxes and spending – to vote to raise the debt limit,” McConnell told Punchbowl News, adding Democrats would have to raise it alone in a party-line bill that’s taking shape.

The Kentucky Republican’s remarks represents a major warning to Democrats as they begin assembling a $3.5 trillion reconciliation plan that’s poised to clear Congress without GOP votes. That’s the legislative pathway for certain bills to be approved with only a majority vote.

The federal government’s borrowing authority is set to end on July 30.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged lawmakers to raise it as she testified before a panel last month, raising alarm about an “absolutely catastrophic” hit to the economic recovery if the government’s borrowing authority isn’t renewed. Raising the debt limit doesn’t mean federal spending will increase.

If the federal government defaults, Yellen said it could trigger a chain reaction of cash shortages starting with US bond holders that include individuals, businesses, and foreign governments.

The Treasury Department can tap into emergency powers to keep payments flowing until a certain date. But Yellen told Congress it’s tough to predict when those will be exhausted this summer given the economic uncertainty stemming from the pandemic.

Republicans voted to suspend the borrowing limit in July 2019 for two years under President Donald Trump. Experts say Democrats could raise the ceiling in a reconciliation package sometime this fall. But that would require them to list a numerical figure because of the process’s strict budgetary rules, opening the door for GOP political attacks on Democrats as big spenders while the national debt tops $28.5 trillion.

On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina is set to hold a press conference about Democrats’ “reckless tax and spending spree.”

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