Democrats’ $3.5 trillion funds funds household applications, clear power, Medicare growth
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, the United States, on Friday, May 28, 2021.
Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats on Wednesday released the framework for their $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution, which they intend to pass in a party line vote later this summer.
The bill will include almost all of President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan bill, plus expanded Medicare coverage for hearing, vision, and dental care.
However, how long each of the programs would last is still open, as is how much money is used in the bill for each of the dozen programs.
These are some of the sensitive issues the Democrats are looking to resolve internally this summer and fall.
For now, here are the main projects that the draft budget would fund:
- Create a national comprehensive paid family and sick leave program.
- Promote a free universal preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds.
- Fund a free community college for all students, increase the total amount of Pell Grants, and increase the maximum individual award.
- Expand access to the Summer EBT program, which is helping some low-income families with children buy groceries outside of the school year.
- Expand the $ 1.9 trillion Covid stimulus plan deployment to lower health insurance premiums for those who purchase coverage for themselves.
- Extension of the expansion of the child tax credit contained in the Covid Relief Act.
The bill also includes funds for clean energy programs, many of which were removed from the bipartisan infrastructure deal during previous negotiations with the Republicans.
These include tax incentives for clean energy and electric vehicles, a civilian climate corps program for young people, and energy-efficient building weathering and electrification projects.
To fund all of the massive new investment, the Democrats have announced plans to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthiest individuals. They also plan to fund increased enforcement through the IRS to crack down on people who underpay or cheat on their taxes.
Another part of the pay-for equation will be new methane reduction and polluter import fees to increase revenues and accelerate emissions reductions.
Senators agreed on the topline figure of $ 3.5 trillion on Tuesday evening, but details of the bill’s content weren’t released until Wednesday.
In the next phase of the legislative process, the budget framework is worked out in detail, a process that takes place in the Senate’s budget committee.
The chair of this committee is Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Who proposed his own budget resolution plan of $ 6 trillion earlier this summer.
But Sanders’ $ 6 trillion plan was far too costly for the Center Democrats to support, and the current $ 3.5 trillion bill is an attempt to bridge these internal divisions.
The budget decision also includes an important provision that Sanders has long advocated but which was not included in Biden’s original American Families plan: full Medicare coverage for vision, dental and hearing care.
“From our point of view, this is a defining moment in American history,” Sanders told reporters on Tuesday.
If finally signed, the bill would mean the largest expansion of the social safety net in decades, along with an unprecedented effort to curb climate change and prepare the country for its effects.
On Wednesday, it was not clear when the budget bill would get its first vote in the Senate.
The timing of the bill is made difficult by the fact that it goes hand in hand with another bill through Congress, a $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure proposal that is still being drafted.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., wants to vote on both the budget resolution and the infrastructure bill before the Senate takes its planned August break.
On Monday, Schumer urged senators to be ready to stay in Washington for part of the upcoming hiatus to pass both measures.
Schumer’s schedule for the next few weeks is very ambitious, especially when you consider that neither of the two massive bills the Democrats are trying to pass has actually been written yet.
Several Middle Democrats have indicated they want to pass the infrastructure bill before voting on the budget resolution bill.
But progressives, who strongly support the budgetary decision, want the exact opposite: proof that their ambitious budget can be passed before they agree to go along with the Middle Democrats and Republicans to approve the watered-down infrastructure plan.
The Democrats only have a majority vote in the Senate, so both bills require the support of every Democratic Senator to pass.
– CNBC’s Emma Newburger contributed to this report.