Senate Democrats unveil $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution – offering free community college, path to citizenship, and more

Top line

Senate Democrats on Monday released a $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution containing a host of the party’s legislative priorities – covering everything from healthcare and climate to higher education and immigration – and laying the groundwork for weeks of negotiations in Congress as party leaders seek to temper moderate Democrats’ concerns about increased budget spending.


In a statement on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the resolution, which seeks to pave the way for President Joe Biden’s political agenda without the backing of Republicans, included only “first-hand” instructions. plan “and that” each senator will have the opportunity to shape and influence “the final bill.

In the budget summary, Democrats proposed creating the first-ever federal paid family and medical leave benefit, a pathway to residency for “millions of immigrant workers and families” and adding a new benefit dental, visual and auditory Medicare health insurance program.

In education, the resolution highlights two-year tuition-free community colleges, increased investment in historically black colleges and universities, and increased Pell scholarship awarded to undergraduates with academic credentials. financial needs from its current level of $ 6,495.

The proposal also addresses many climate and infrastructure provisions that were not included in the separate $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that is making its way to the Senate, including new tax incentives for clean energy, the electrification of the federal fleet and the creation of the “largest ever one-time investment” in Native American infrastructure projects.

The statement does not specify how the package will be funded, but in his statement Schumer alluded to Biden’s proposed tax hikes for the ultra-rich, saying the legislation “would make the rich pay their fair share.”

Crucial quote

“Basically, this legislation is about restoring the middle class in the 21st century and giving more Americans the opportunity to make it happen,” Schumer said Monday.

Key context

Although President Joe Biden first released his infrastructure proposal in March, Democratic Party leaders have clashed with opposition to the plan from Republicans and Democrats, prompting them to pursue two different efforts at the same time. – the smallest bipartite infrastructure package planned for a final vote in the Senate. by Tuesday and the budget resolution just unveiled. Although the price of bipartisan infrastructure has been slashed to satisfy GOP lawmakers, the budget resolution bill would use the Senate’s special reconciliation process to allow Democrats to bypass Republican support and pass the draft. expenditure law with only 51 votes instead of the usual 60. That would require a tie – a decisive vote from Vice President Kamala Harris and the support of the 50 Senate Democrats, including moderates like Sense. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

Chief critic

After reaching a deal with other Democrats to help kickstart the budget process last month, Sinema said she would only support “starting this process”, but “would not support a bill that costs $ 3. $ 500 billion, “and Manchin said last week that he voted in favor of initiating the resolution” out of respect “for his colleagues but that he” made no promises “about his final vote for the. package. There is always the possibility that Democrats will downsize their package to help rally members.

What to watch out for

The budget resolution calls on lawmakers to submit their amended reconciliation legislation by September 15.

Further reading

Senate Democrats unveil $ 3.5 trillion spending deal (Forbes)

New bridges, roads, internet and more: here’s what made it the trillion dollar infrastructure bill backed by the Senate (Forbes)

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