Republicans on Capitol Hill are watching with Cheshire cat grins as Democrats scramble to avoid a US default, while attempting to pass two major pieces of time-sensitive legislation that have the party’s progressives pitted against moderate Democrats.

For starters, House progressives have banded together to nuke the $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure package passed by the Senate in August, unless Speaker Nancy Pelosi links it to the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better act – which party moderates including Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) will tank in the Senate unless it’s significantly smaller and has legitimate budgetary mechanisms to pay for it that doesn’t just include a beefed-up IRS collecting deadbeat taxes.

“Progressives will vote for both bills, but a majority of our members will only vote for the infrastructure bill after the President’s visionary Build Back Better Act passes,” said Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair (and boss from hell) Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). The progressive caucus, which claims 95 members, is using their vote on the infrastructure bill as leverage to force the Build Back Better act via the reconciliation process, according to Bloomberg.

“This agenda is not some fringe wish list: it is the President’s agenda, the Democratic agenda, and what we all promised voters when they delivered us the House, Senate, and White House,” Jayapal added.

According to Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) – a member of the so-called “Squad” of progressive Democrats, Pelosi’s decision to separate the bills is a “betrayal.”

“Let me be clear: bringing the so-called bipartisan infrastructure plan to a vote without the #BuildBackBetter Act at the same time is a betrayal. We will hold the line and vote it down,” Tlaib wrote on Twitter, adding “This is not the time for half measures or to go back on our promises.”

On Monday night, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) knocked Manchin and Sinema, telling CNN‘s Manu Raju “It is saddening to see them use Republican talking points. We obviously didn’t envision having Republicans as part of our party. And I hope that they will understand that Democrats need to be united behind the president’s agenda, and we need to have urgent conversations on how to get this agenda done.”

Meanwhile, President Biden(‘s handlers) have arranged for separate meetings on Tuesday with Manchin and Sinema in an attempt to broker an agreement.

Pelosi says she plans to move forward with the infrastructure vote on Thursday, however even close allies such as Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) have cast doubt on its current ability to pass.

“If she were to call the bill, it will fail,” she told The Hill, adding “Not because the Progressive Caucus, people like me, aren’t willing to vote for it. But … we had an agreement that we were going to get these two pieces [together].”

Debt ceiling disaster

Democrats – which could simply raise the debt ceiling via reconciliation to avoid a US default, have dug in their heels over Republican involvement – with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) calling it a “non-starter.”

“Going through reconciliation is risky to the country and is a non-starter,” he said at a press conference following a meeting of the Senate Democratic conference, adding “It’s very, very risky.”

On Tuesday, Republicans shut down a bid by Schumer to hold a vote to suspend the debt limit with a 51-vote threshold, to which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected – saying that Democrats can do it by themselves.

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