- It was a busy week on the Hill — including a game of baseball and meeting with actor Woody Harrelson.
- Lawmakers also temporarily averted a shutdown; President Biden signed a measure to fund the government.
- To cap off the week, the House had two Thursdays because Pelosi never gaveled out Thursday night.
What do a narrowly averted government shutdown, a baseball game, a day that lasts longer than 24 hours, and actor Woody Harrelson all have in common? They all had something to do with lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week.
On Monday evening, Senate Republicans blocked a House-approved measure aimed at averting both a debt default and a government shutdown.
“Bipartisanship is not a light switch: a light switch that Democrats get to flip on when they need to borrow money and switch off when they want to spend money,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday following the vote, doubling down on his position that “America must never default” — though his party in the Senate blocked a measure that would keep the US from defaulting.
Amid political turmoil, actor Woody Harrelson also made an appearance at the Capitol building. Reporters photographed the “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” actor with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though the nature of his visit with Pelosi was not clear.
—Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) September 29, 2021
The actor, who went to the Capitol with his wife Laura Louie and daughter, also met with Rep. Dean Phillips, a Democrat from Minnesota, who said Harrelson was there to “bring good cheer to a place that needs it right now.”
—Claudia Grisales (@cgrisales) September 29, 2021
Harrelson has been in DC filming for the upcoming political drama miniseries, “The White House Plumbers,” covering former President Richard Nixon’s legacy and the Watergate break-in. He will play former CIA agent E. Howard Hunt, who was convicted of burglary, conspiracy, and wiretapping in connection with the scandal.
Later, on Wednesday, members of Congress left politics “under the Capitol dome,” as House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries said, to play its annual congressional baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.
Lawmakers have faced off in the friendly game of ball to raise money for charity since 1909, but last year’s game was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Republicans won the game 13-12 — their first win since 2016 and third in the last decade.
—Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 30, 2021
On Thursday, both the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through December 3. President Joe Biden signed a stopgap measure just hours before the deadline Thursday night, averting a government shutdown.
To cap off the unconventional week on the Hill, on Friday it was still technically Thursday, September 30, in the House, not October 1 like the rest of the world. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi managed to warp time to stretch September to October in a frantic bid to pass Biden’s infrastructure bill by the end of the month.
The House never gaveled out of session Thursday night in a political maneuver on Pelosi’s part to keep her pledge to House moderates calling for a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill in September.
“It underscores the bind that Pelosi is in trying to pass Biden’s agenda, and the procedural lengths she’ll go to in order to pacify a small but potent faction of her party’s moderate wing, given the three-seat margin she has to maneuver around,” Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported.
The vote on the bipartisan infrastructure never materialized, because House progressives said they would not vote for it unless it was tied to a $3.5 trillion over ten years reconciliation bill — opening up a fresh round of negotiations on Biden’s signature legislation.
Biden met with House Democrats at the Capitol on Friday to unify the caucus around the infrastructure bill but has yet to seal the deal.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s in six minutes, six days or six weeks,” Biden told reporters after the meeting. “We’re gonna get it done.”
—Joseph Zeballos-Roig (@josephzeballos) October 1, 2021
While the government was funded through December 3, the debt ceiling crisis still looms, and there was no resolution on Biden’s spending agenda, meaning the next few weeks — or even months — on the Hill could be just as chaotic.