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Kelsey Snell

The House voted 221 to 209 early Wednesday morning to increase the federal borrowing limit by $2.5 trillion, a figure Democrats say will allow the government to avoid default until early 2023.

The measure, which was approved almost entirely along party lines, means Congress will likely avoid any major debt limit debates until after the 2022 midterm elections. Whichever party controls Congress after the midterms will have to determine how to address the issue or face the threat of federal default.

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Democrats have staked their political future on enacting President Biden's plans for trillions in social spending, but a new NPR/Marist poll shows that most voters are skeptical of the party's proposals.

Americans don't feel the direct payments or expanded child tax credits doled out earlier this year helped them much, according to the latest NPR/Marist poll, and they don't see Democrats' signature legislation as addressing their top economic concern — inflation.

President Biden has signed legislation to keep the government funded through Feb. 18, clearing the way for Congress to focus on a daunting year-end to-do list.

Congress has less than three weeks to resolve differences that have plagued both parties for the entire year.

Updated November 22, 2021 at 7:55 PM ET

The House voted on near-party lines Friday morning to approve a roughly $2 trillion social and climate spending package, ending months of squabbles among Democrats over the details of the far-reaching measure.

The vote was 220-213, with one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, joining all Republicans in opposition.

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Democrats in Washington say they have a PR problem. They say their policies and ideas that helped elect them to run the House, Senate and the White House are still popular today. The problem is that the polling does not seem to agree.

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Disappointing results for Democrats in this week's elections, like losing the governor's race in Virginia, may have lit a fire under them. At least, President Biden hopes so. He said yesterday, voters want Democrats to, quote, "get things done."

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Last night was rough for Democrats.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST #1: Democrats are waking up. This is a gut punch.

Updated October 28, 2021 at 1:57 PM ET

House Democrats are racing to resolve an internal battle over the process for passing trillions of dollars in spending after a personal plea from President Biden for members of his party to unite behind a $1.75 trillion social spending bill and a separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Senate Democrats have unveiled a plan to tax the gains billionaires make on the assets they own as a way to help pay for President Biden's social spending plan.

Democrats say the billionaire tax alone could raise hundreds of billions of dollars to help offset the cost of the final bill, which could end up around $1.5 trillion. It is part of a broader tax framework that also includes a new minimum tax on large corporations.

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Updated October 7, 2021 at 8:36 PM ET

The Senate has passed a bill to increase the federal debt ceiling, after weeks of tense cross-aisle negotiations regarding the looming threat of the country defaulting on its debt.

The legislation was approved Thursday night along party lines, with a simple majority. An earlier procedural vote required Republicans to get to 60 votes. It got 61. House approval is still needed.

Updated October 6, 2021 at 6:25 PM ET

Senate leaders are working to finalize a deal to avoid the immediate threat of federal default by punting a political battle to December.

Democrats say they are willing to accept an offer from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for a short-term lift of the debt limit. But they say they remain unwilling to accept a related demand to use McConnell's preferred procedure to pass a longer suspension of the borrowing cap.

Updated September 30, 2021 at 7:33 PM ET

President Biden has signed a short-term funding bill, avoiding a partial government shutdown that would have begun at midnight.

The Senate and House sprinted Thursday afternoon to pass the legislation, which will keep the government funded through Dec. 3.

The bill also includes $28.6 billion for communities hit by natural disasters over the past 18 months and $6.3 billion to help support resettlement for Afghan refugees.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

This is a very high-stakes week for Joe Biden's presidency. Democrats in Congress have a deadline to avoid a government shutdown, and they need to agree among themselves to pass Biden's domestic agenda. Here's House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on ABC's "This Week."

Updated September 27, 2021 at 2:10 PM ET

Top congressional Democrats worked through the weekend to untangle a snarl of competing demands from members of their own party on fiscal issues while continuing to battle Republicans over the nation's debt.

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The White House and congressional Democrats have reached an agreement on a framework to pay for a final spending package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced Thursday.

But that's where the details stopped. Pelosi and Schumer didn't offer any specifics on the framework or the amount of revenue they seek to get to pay for the measure.

Democrats in Washington are working against a rapidly approaching deadline to end a standoff with Republicans that could force a partial government shutdown and a panic over the nation's credit rating.

"We're calm and everybody's good and our work's almost done," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said as she returned from a meeting with the president at the White House. "We're in good shape."

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Updated November 4, 2021 at 5:11 PM ET

This story is part of "The Basics" from The NPR Politics Podcast, where we regularly explain a key idea behind the news we talk about on our show. Subscribe to The NPR Politics Podcast here.

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Updated August 24, 2021 at 5:27 PM ET

The House of Representatives narrowly approved a budget resolution that provides the framework for a $3.5 trillion spending deal following an impasse between House leaders and centrist Democrats that threatened to derail progress on the vast majority of President Biden's domestic agenda.

Tuesday's vote was 220-212 along party lines.

Updated August 10, 2021 at 3:52 PM ET

The Senate voted 69-30 Tuesday to approve a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, a historic piece of legislation that could reshape American lives for decades.

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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, HOST:

The Senate is poised to pass a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill today that Democrats say is just the start. They plan to move quickly from what is a bipartisan victory to an entirely partisan spending plan.

Updated August 9, 2021 at 9:28 AM ET

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has released the text of a $3.5 trillion budget framework that is meant to give Democrats the opportunity to approve major federal investments in child care, family leave and climate change provisions without support of congressional Republicans.

In a letter sent Monday morning, Schumer told Democrats that the goal is for committees to write legislation to fulfill the spending targets by Sept. 15.

A roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill cleared a critical hurdle in the Senate on Saturday, paving the way for final Senate consideration and a looming showdown involving progressive Democrats in the House.

The vote was 67-27. It is unclear when a final vote would occur.

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