Speed Reads

The other half

Senate Democrats tee up $3.5 trillion budget blueprint for vote after the infrastructure bill passes

The Senate is expected to easily approve a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Tuesday morning, then the chamber will begin considering a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint Senate Democrats released Monday. The budget blueprint, expected to pass with only Democratic votes, will unlock the reconciliation process, allowing the ambitious spending proposal to move out of the Senate with no Republican support.

The budget package envisions two years of free community college, universal pre-kindergarten, expanding Medicare to cover dental and vision, and multiple efforts to combat climate change and poverty. It would be paid for mostly through higher taxes on profitable corporations and wealthy households. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called the plan "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."

"The budget resolution will bake in the spending ceiling, as well as a rough framework for what can be included in the final social spending bill Democrats are trying to enact," Politico reports. "But the final product may well fall short of the $3.5 trillion allowed under the budget resolution," and moderate and more progressive Democrats will likely spend the next few weeks in tough negotiations about what provisions are included and how they will be financed.

The budget plan would not raise the debt ceiling, which should "ease action on that multitrillion-dollar plan, as well as the bipartisan infrastructure bill," Politico says. "But that calculated decision to procrastinate, as the Biden administration counts down toward a national default on U.S. debt, will make life substantially worse for Democrats this fall as they scramble for the votes to avert the cliff in time."