Senate Votes to Begin Debate on Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Package

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The Epoch Times

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) moved quickly on Tuesday to advance Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution bill, coming soon after the Senate voted to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure measure.

No GOP senators voted in favor of the budget measure, although 19 of them voted for the infrastructure measure.

Ahead of the second vote, Schumer attempted to assuage left-wing Democrat Congress members, saying the budget would meet their requirements.

“To my colleagues who are concerned that this does not do enough on climate, for families and making corporations and the rich pay their fair share: we are moving on to a second track which will make generational transformation in these areas,” he said on the floor.

Democrats on Monday, including Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said they would attempt to pass the massive spending package via budget reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority. The Senate Parliamentarian’s office has not issued a statement on whether certain provisions can be included.

Some centrist Democrats, including Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), may not support the measure. With no GOP support, Democrats can’t lose a single member of their caucus.

“I have also made clear that while I will support beginning this process, I do not support a bill that costs $3.5 trillion–and in the coming months, I will work in good faith to develop this legislation with my colleagues and the administration to strengthen Arizona’s economy and help Arizona’s everyday families get ahead,” Sinema said in a statement.

Manchin, meanwhile, said he’s concerned the $3.5 trillion measure would add too much to the national deficit amid fears of rising inflation. The senator, whose home state of West Virginia relies heavily on energy production and mining, told The Associated Press that he isn’t “making any promises” about whether he’ll back the bill.

The legislation’s climate-related provisions would have to move through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which Manchin chairs, he noted to AP.

From across the ideological divide of the Democrat Party, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told CNN on Aug. 1 that there will be “more than enough” votes to block the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill until left-wing members of the House get investments they want via the $3.5 trillion package.

On Monday, according to Sanders’ office, the budget bill would create free pre-Kindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds and two years of free community college, extending tax breaks for children and some low-income workers, and establishing paid family and sick leave. Medicare coverage would be expanded to cover dental, hearing, and vision benefits. Spending would increase for housing, home health care, and job training, and new resources would go toward efforts encouraging a faster transition to green energy.

By Jack Phillips

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