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For Biden, September has been another month to forget

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
President Biden Holds Meeting With Business Leaders And CEOs On Covid-19 Response
President Biden speaks during a meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office on Sept. 15, 2021.Oliver Contretas / Bloomberg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — After President Biden’s brutal August, we told you that September could get even worse for him.

And it looks like we were right — unless he and Democrats pull a rabbit out of their hat ahead of today’s scheduled House vote on the infrastructure bill, which may or may not happen.

This has been Biden’s September: About 2,000 Covid deaths a day. Declining poll numbers. Congressional hearings on the Afghanistan withdrawal (and not on Jan. 6). A pitched battle — and a lack of trust — between moderates and progressives over Biden’s agenda.

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And this has been just the last 24 hours: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., released a statement casting doubt that he could support the budget reconciliation package (at least anytime soon); progressives said they’re laying the groundwork to mount a primary challenge against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. (in a state where Republicans and independents still outnumber registered Democrats); and it’s likely that today’s House vote on infrastructure is headed for defeat — or a postponement.

It’s all happening a month before Virginia’s toss-up gubernatorial contest, where Dems are already sounding the alarm bell.

“Democrats have got to quit talking, and they’ve got to get something done,” Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe told the Washington Post. “You got elected to get things done. We have the House, Senate and White House.”

Here’s the political reality staring Democrats like McAuliffe in the face: They can’t afford for next month, October, to be as bad or worse for Biden than August and September were.

Tweet of the day

Government shutdown averted but debt default still looms

Outside of the moderate-vs.-progressive standoff on Biden’s agenda, there was some good news on Capitol Hill yesterday.

The government isn’t going to shut down.

“Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that senators have reached a deal on a stopgap government funding measure to prevent a shutdown,” per NBC News.

“‘We are ready to move forward,’ Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor. ‘We have an agreement on ... the continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown, and we should be voting on that tomorrow morning.’”

The bad news, however, is that the deal to keep the government open doesn’t include any resolution about raising the debt limit.

And by the way, given the moderate-vs.-progressive fight and the uncertainty about the debt limit, the timing of last night’s congressional baseball couldn’t have been worse.

There are serious problems right now … and members of Congress were playing a baseball game?

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

20: The number of hospitals that had full ICUs for at least a full year since the pandemic began.

11: The number of additional subpoenas sent by the Jan. 6 committee to organizers of the “Stop the Steal” rally the preceded the attack on the Capitol.

18: The number of named storms that hit the continental United States over the last two hurricane seasons, a record.

43,399,221: The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 122,025 more since yesterday morning.)

699,485: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 2,286 more since yesterday morning.)

391,992,662: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S., per the CDC. (That’s 840,088 more since yesterday morning.)

55.5 percent: The share of all Americans who are fully vaccinated, per the CDC.

66.8 percent: The share of all U.S. adults at least 18 years of age who are fully vaccinated, per CDC

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski will no longer helm the Trump aligned super PAC after he was accused of sexual harassment. Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi takes over leading Make America Great Again Action.

U.S. officials are concerned that lifting a key Covid restriction on the border could lead to a massive increase in migrants.

The Associated Press reports on the tightrope Virginia Republican Glenn Youngkin is walking on former President Donald Trump.

Politico takes a look at what soft Biden disapprovers are thinking ahead of the midterms.

Remember the Schoolhouse Rock “I’m Just a Bill?” Politico has a new version for the 2021 infrastructure/reconciliation debate.