Senate Democrats have taken their first step towards approving a $ 3.5 trillion spending plan early wednesday while the party pushes a massive economic agenda.
After more than 14 hours of voting on amendments, the Democratic-held chamber voted to pass a 50-49 budget resolution down the party lines. The move instructs committees to draft a bill that would spend up to $ 3.5 trillion on climate change initiatives, paid vacation, childcare, education and health care.
“The Democratic budget will bring a generation change in the way our economy works for the average American,” said Schumer after he was passed.
It’s the first step in the budget reconciliation process that will allow Democrats to pass their plan without a Republican Senate vote that’s split 50-50 by party. The GOP has united against the proposal and the tax hikes for businesses and wealthy individuals who want to use the Democrats to pay for it.
The vote on the resolution follows the passage of a bipartisan $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill by the Senate. The Democrats see the bipartisan plan and their reconciliation law as complementary elements of an agenda aimed at creating jobs, slowing climate change and strengthening the social safety net.
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For the Democrats, there were early signs of trouble that every member of their Senate faction must keep on board in order to pass their spending plan. Senator Joe Manchin, DW.V., raised concerns about the $ 3.5 trillion price tag and signaled that he would try to cut the final legislation.
“Given the current state of economic recovery, it is simply irresponsible to continue spending at levels better suited to responding to a Great Depression or a Great Recession – not an economy poised to overheat,” he said in a statement.
None of the bills will land on President Joe Biden’s desk for weeks or even months. The House of Representatives must also approve a budget resolution before Congress can draft and pass final laws.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-California, balances competing interests in her caucus, saying she will not adopt the infrastructure or reconciliation laws until the Senate passes both of them. However, she was pressured by centrists in her party to hold an independent vote on the bipartisan plan.
House majority leader Steny Hoyer announced Tuesday that the chamber will return from its current hiatus on August 23, about a month earlier than previously planned. The House of Representatives will pass the budget resolution, said the Maryland Democrat.
The Senate will leave Washington by mid-September.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., gave the committees a goal on Sept. 15 to put their pieces of the bill together.
The resolution aims to expand paid family and sick leave, make childcare more accessible, create a universal pre-K and fee-free community college, and expand the improved household tax credits passed during the coronavirus pandemic. It is also recommended that the Medicare eligibility age be lowered and that benefits be extended to include dental, visual and hearing aids.
The measure also calls for the expansion of green energy and the containment of climate change through tax incentives for companies, consumer discounts and polluter fees.
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