Senate Democrats on Tuesday night announced they reached an agreement on a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that would fight climate change and boost health care and family service programs over the next decade.
These measures have been sought by President Biden, and the budget could be pushed through without Republican support by using the reconciliation process — this sidesteps the 60 votes needed to advance, but every Democrat would have to vote for the plan.
The Democrats spent the last several weeks working together and with the White House to reach the agreement. "We are very proud of this plan," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters. "We know we have a long road to go. We're going to get this done for the sake of making average Americans' lives a whole lot better." He said Biden will attend a lunch with Senate Democrats on Wednesday "to lead us on to getting this wonderful plan" passed.
Schumer said the agreement will finance Biden's priorities "in a robust way," and will expand Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing services, something that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other progressives have been asking for. A Democratic aide told The Associated Press the budget will also include language saying there won't be any tax increases on small businesses or Americans making less than $400,000 a year.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers has also been working on a $1 trillion infrastructure deal, which would fix roads and water systems. Their Tuesday night meeting was "productive," Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said, with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) telling reporters the group hopes "to get most issues resolved by Thursday, but there will surely be others after that."