Senate Budget Committee Democrats approved Tuesday a massive $3.5 Trillion spending package. This was a significant step toward the goal of the slim Democratic majority to fund climate change initiatives, expand safety net programs, boost other priorities and increase funding without the support of Republicans.
Schumer announced Tuesday night, “Every major program President Biden has requested us for is being funded robustly, and…we are making some additions.”
It is unclear if Democrats will pass this package. Given the low likelihood of Republican support, the party will use the Senate’s reconciliation procedure, which allows them to give specific spending bills only 51 votes instead of 60. The reconciliation process will require all 50 Senate Democrats, including moderate members such as Sens., to sign on. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Silena (D-Ariz.). Schumer stated that “We are aware we have a long road ahead of us, but we’re gonna get there.”
Biden wants trillions in new spending. He plans to increase spending on infrastructure, finance home care workers, and offer universal prekindergarten. He also hopes to set up a national family and medical leave program paid for and expand a Covid-era tax credit system for children. Parallel to this, the White House also pursues a minor deal on infrastructure that was signed by both Senate Democrats (Republicans) and Senate Democrats. This two-track approach has occasionally caused tensions. Progressive Democrats claim the bipartisan bill for infrastructure is too small. Some Republicans pulled out of the deal after Biden tied it to a more comprehensive Democrats-only statement. This forced the president to pull back the links between the two bills.