The $3.5 Trillion Democrat Budget Blueprint: Read It For Yourself
Racing against the August recess, and needing to get the reconciliation process done before the end of the fiscal year, the Senate Democratic leadership has unveiled the $3.5 trillion Democrat budget blueprint they hope to pass on the heels of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.
Senate Democrats on Monday released a sweeping $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that proposes to expand Medicare, combat climate change, and boost federal child care and education programs as lawmakers prepare to take the next step toward advancing the central elements of President Biden’s economic agenda.
The scope of the spending outlined by Democrats is vast, reflecting the party’s grand ambitions to grow the size and reach of the federal government to a level not seen in decades. The measure paves the way for new funding to enroll students in universal prekindergarten, help immigrants obtain legal residency and lower prescription drug prices for seniors, along with a slew of additional efforts that coincide with promises Biden and his allies made during the 2020 election campaign.
In releasing the document, Democrats pledged Monday that their package would be financed in full through proposed tax increases on profitable companies and wealthy families. The resolution, which sets up a process to craft full legislation in the weeks ahead, is expected to gain the support of only the chamber’s 50 Democrats — forcing the party to rely later on a legislative move known as reconciliation to bypass Republican opposition and avert a likely filibuster.
The budget is the second component of Biden’s broader economic ambitions set to come before the Senate this week. Lawmakers also are expected to approve another major element: roughly $1.2 trillion in new investments targeting the nation’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and Internet connections. Republicans are set to join Democrats overwhelmingly in advancing the infrastructure bill, which the Senate negotiated with the White House.
Despite the rare political accord, however, the GOP has adamantly opposed Democrats’ budget measure and pledged to vehemently fight it, arguing that it would worsen the deficit and wrongly unwind the tax cuts they adopted four years ago. Both proposals face a complex path in the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has pledged not to take up one without the other.
For now, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who led the committee that drafted the resolution, on Monday described the effort as historic. He touted the budget as the “most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s.”
“When we go forward and do that, when we protect our children and the elderly and the environment, we are going to create millions of good-paying jobs, put people to work rebuilding this country in a way that is long, long overdue,” Sanders said.
The two expected votes mark major political milestones for the Senate as well as for Biden, months after he unveiled his jobs- and families-focused plans calling for more than $4 trillion in new spending. The president long has maintained a desire to work with Republicans to pass considerable swaths of his economic agenda — even as he has made clear that Democrats will not squander their narrow majorities in Congress to accomplish their goals.
The budget and infrastructure measures technically are separate, yet they are politically intertwined. In the Senate, Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has labored to move both proposals in tandem on a tight timeline ahead of lawmakers’ planned August recess.
“Many folks called that two-track process unrealistic; many others said it’s unachievable on such a short timeline and in such a slow-moving chamber,” he said Monday. “But we have managed to steer two trains at the same time. There have been some bumps. There have been some delays. But the Senate is on track to finish both tracks.”
Some liberal-leaning Democrats have insisted that they will not support one tranche of spending without the other, arguing that the bipartisan public-works bill on its own is insufficient. The demands have been especially potent in the House, where Pelosi cannot afford to lose many votes if she hopes to adopt either economic package.
The Democratic leadership plan is for a “vote-a-rama” marathon to get amendments and committee instructions done by September 15th to officially kick off the reconciliation process Democrats plan to use to pass the Democratic budget without any Republican support.