POLITICO

HERE WE GO — The Senate returns from recess today and dives headlong into a pile of high-stakes, must-pass legislation and deadlines.

Wednesday is the deadline for Democrats to assemble their reconciliation package and House committees will grind through the next few days to try and hit that deadline.

AHOY! TAX HIKE AHEAD — One of the key remaining questions about the Democrats’ go-it-alone reconciliation plan was what tax changes would pay for the massive spending package. Some answers dropped Sunday night.

House Democrats want to raise the corporate rate to 26.5 percent from 21 percent and impose a 3 percentage-point surtax on people making above $5 million, according to sources familiar with the proposal. The top rate for individuals would go to 39.6 percent.

The Ways and Means Committee, led by Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), plans to take up these and other tax increases this week. Taken together, the proposals would amount to the biggest tax increase in decades, and enough to cover most of what even progressive Democrats hope to spend on their coming “reconciliation” package — though lawmakers remain at odds over the size of the plan.

POLITICO’s senior tax reporter Brian Faler has more: https://politi.co/394Bg3M

WARNING HAZARDOUS CLIFF EDGE — Congress needs to strike a deal on federal spending by Sept. 30, and the debt ceiling must be raised soon after that in order to avoid tandem calamities: a government shutdown and a default on U.S. debt, triggering economic collapse. Bleak for a Monday morning, but that’s political brinkmanship for ya.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is holding firm to his commitment that his caucus won’t contribute yea votes to raise the debt limit and he’s challenged Democrats’ to do it alone. Top Democrats insist they have a plan — they just don’t want to talk about it yet.

Don Byer (D-Va.), who chairs the Joint Economic Committee: “Nobody blinks in the short run. But at the end of the day, we have to raise the debt limit. But it could be after dinner on Sept. 30.”

A continuing resolution through Dec. 10 is under discussion to avert a government shutdown. House Democrats are planning a vote next week to extend government funding. It could include disaster aid for the wildfires and floods, assistance for the Afghanistan withdrawal and the debt ceiling, according to aides.

The strategy is dependent on Republicans from areas hit hard by recent natural disasters voting yes on the aid to their communities, along with the debt ceiling and other provisions they’d oppose as standalone proposals.

Heather and Burgess have more where that came from: https://politi.co/3hrGjji

TUESDAY’S MOST CLICKED: Congress wakes up to its staff retention problems after Covid, bomb threats and riots from your appreciative Huddle host. Thanks for reading!

SENATE AGENDA — It’s been a while. Here’s what the Senate has cooking (don’t forget that the week is truncated with Yom Kippur starting Wednesday evening.)

There’s a vote tee’d up on the nomination of James Kvaal to be under secretary of Education and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) filed cloture on three judges and the motion to proceed to their revised voting rights bill.

Afghanistan accountability: Congress’ drive for accountability on Afghanistan continues with Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifying Monday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and on Tuesday before Senate Foreign Relations. The Senate Armed Services Committee has a closed briefing Wednesday with Army Gen. Austin Scott Miller, the former Commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. Republicans have a long list of floor speeches on tap for Wednesday in honor of the service members who died at Kabul Airport in the Aug. 26 bombing.

Also: The Senate Parliamentarian is expected to make a ruling sometime this week on whether immigration reform survives its Byrd bath.

RECONCILIATION CONSTERNATION — Two key players in the reconciliation fight, Manchin and Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) each hit the airwaves Sunday and foreshadowed a stalemate over the size of the Democrats’ package that could overhaul federal tax laws, health care, education and immigration.

Manchin reiterated his opposition to the $3.5 trillion topline cost of the sweeping bill that Democrats’ aim to pass without Republican support, saying he anticipated the final measure would be around half at $1.5 trillion.

“No, it’s absolutely not acceptable to me” to cut the $3.5 trillion plan, Sanders said in response.

Democrats are heading into a week with tough political realities to face. They control Congress with the narrowest of majorities and need every Democrat to unite behind the bill if they hope to pass what could potentially be the largest economic package in U.S. history.

CONSEQUENCES FOR COPS — Six Capitol Police officers are facing disciplinary measures for misconduct based on their behavior during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Some were flagged for “conduct unbecoming,” “failure to comply with directives,” “improper remarks” and “improper dissemination of information.”

The department announced the move Saturday, also revealing that there were 37 investigations into allegations that some officers acted improperly as the pro-Trump mob stormed Congress. Defendants in the 600-plus cases stemming from the Capitol attack argue that they believed the police had given them permission to enter the building and had encouraged them in some cases. It’s unclear whether the reports will substantiate any of those claims. Kyle Cheney has more on this: https://politi.co/3nq43In