The Senate on Wednesday paved the way for the biggest expansion of the federal social safety net since the advent of modern food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s, approving a plan for a massive $ 3.5 billion budget bill. dollars aimed at “restoring the classroom environment” through a host of government initiatives, including a universal preschool, a tuition-free community college and a new federal health program, while fighting climate change and increasing taxes for the ultra-rich.
Free kindergartenHeadlining the bill’s proposals, provisions targeting families would establish free preschool education for every 3- and 4-year-old child in the country, create the first-ever federal benefit to guarantee paid work leave for family and medical reasons and would offset taxes to help work families pay child care costs.
Child tax credit: The proposal would also extend the expansion of the American Rescue Plan’s child tax credit by an additional four years, giving eligible families $ 250 in monthly payments for each child 17 and under, as well as an additional $ 50. $ per month for children under 6. ; the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the credit would apply to about 65 million children.
Free Community College: In higher education, Democrats have proposed making two years of community college free for all Americans and increasing the Pell Grant for undergraduates in financial need from $ 6,495 to $ 13,000 by 2028.
Health insurance: The package would also invest in a new federal affordable health insurance program to help cover the more than 4 million Americans who are not eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
No new taxes (small businesses): Senators agreed that the package would be to prohibit new taxes on small businesses, family farms and families earning less than $ 400,000 a year, and President Joe Biden has called for increasing the maximum rate for Americans earning more than $ 400,000 by 2.6 percentage points percentage, from 37% to 39.6%.
Clean electric discounts: To help fight climate change, Democrats seek to offer consumer discounts to Americans who tamper with or electrify their homes in a bid to meet Biden’s targets of 80% clean electricity and 50% off carbon emissions by 2030.
Help for immigrants: The plan proposes to spend $ 107 billion to help millions of immigrants gain legal permanent status in the country and invest in “smart and effective” border security measures, as well as an additional $ 20 , $ 5 billion for Native American communities to use in health, education, housing and energy programs.
A $ 3.5 trillion price tag would make the Democrats’ budget package the biggest spending bill in the country’s history, an effort the party has touted as the most ambitious poverty and climate change initiative never undertaken by lawmakers. “Senate Democrats have just taken a giant step towards restoring the 21st century middle class,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said after Wednesday’s vote.
After an overnight session rich in debate, the Senate narrowly adopted its draft budget on Wednesday morning and adjourned until September 13. Schumer called on lawmakers to submit their amended reconciliation law by September 15, but also admitted the timeline was ambitious. Senate Democrats plan to use a special legislative process called reconciliation to pass the budget plan without Republican backing, which will require negotiations to allay concerns among party moderates about increased government spending. Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) both said they refused to back a package costing $ 3.5 trillion and only voted to move the bill forward for help launch negotiations.
“Given the current state of economic recovery, it is simply irresponsible to continue spending at levels more suited to respond to a Great Depression or a Great Recession, and not an economy on the verge of overheating.” Manchin told the Senate on Wednesday. morning, calling the rise in inflation, which many link to increased budget spending, an “inevitable tax” on every American’s payroll. âI firmly believe that continuing to spend at irresponsible levels jeopardizes our nation’s ability to respond to unforeseen crises our country might face.
US Senate narrowly passes Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion budget plan (Forbes)
Senate Democrats unveil $ 3.5 trillion budget – offering free community college, path to citizenship, and more (Forbes)