Senate debates Dems' $3.5T Budget, GOP Launches Attacks

Democrats started pushing their expansive $3.5 trillion framework for bolstering family services, health, and environment programs through the Senate on Tuesday, as Republicans responded with an avalanche of amendments aimed at making their rivals pay a price in next year's elections.

Senate debates Dems' $3.5T Budget, GOP Launches Attacks

The approval by Congress of the budget resolution would be a significant first step for Democrats towards enacting President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda. This would allow for a follow-up measure that will use the government's fiscal power to help families, create jobs, and combat climate change. It will also increase taxes on the wealthy and large companies, which would pay a lot of the bill.

Bernie Sanders, I.Vt., Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, was once a progressive voice within Congress' wilderness, and is now a national figure in legislative clout. He said that the measure would benefit children, families, and the elderly, and even more.

He said, "It will also restore the faith of American citizens in the belief that it is possible to have a government working for all of us and not just a few."

Republicans claimed that Democrats' proposals would make America poorer, waste money, increase economy-wounding tax, inflict inflation, and codify far-left directives that would hurt Americans. They used Sanders, a self-avowed democratic socialist to try to tar all Democrats supporting the measure.

Biden and Senate Democrats may "outsource domestic policies to Chairman Sanders" and declare themselves as "historically reckless taxing, spending, and taxing sprees," but Republicans don't have the votes to stop them. We will vote.

Passage of the budget resolution is crucial because it would allow Democrats to approve any subsequent bill that actually enacts their tax and spending policies. The approval of the budget will protect the bill from Republican filibusters and procedural delays that can kill bills. In the coming weeks, approval by the House is expected, where fiscal plans have been praised by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The Senate began debating the budget minutes after it approved the other big chunk of Biden's objectives, a compromise $1 trillion bundle of transportation, water, broadband and other infrastructure projects. The measure was passed with McConnell and the support of 19 Republicans. Now, it needs House approval.

Every Republican present opposed the Senate's vote to open consideration of the budget by a 50-49 vote. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) missed the roll call in order to be with his wife, who is ill.

Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) assured his party's progressives they would be granted broad federal initiatives that go far beyond the infrastructure compromise. This was a reference to the divisions between liberals and moderates in the party that Schumer and Pelosi would have to resolve before Congress can approve their fiscal goals. The House is also controlled by Democrats, but not as strongly.

Schumer stated, "To my colleagues that are concerned about this not doing enough on climate, families, and making corporations, the rich pay their fair shares: We are moving onto a second track, who will make a generational change in these areas."

Senators began a budget ritual by launching into what's known as a "vote a-rama," which is a nonstop parade of messaging amends that can often become a long, painful night. According to the Senate Historical Office, the Senate spent almost 20 hours taking 41 roll-calls on the previous budget and 28 hours voting on 37 issues as it approved COVID-19 relief legislation in March.

A 99-0 vote was required to approve an amendment from Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), which opposes Green New Deal environmental policies. These policies would increase energy prices and send American jobs overseas. It was supported by Democrats, who argued that their plan would not do either.

A second senator from South Dakota, John Thune, was opposed to Democrats' plans for raising capital gains taxes. He argued that they would harm small businesses and family farms. The bill passed 99 to 0, with Democrats supporting it and claiming that those interests would be protected.

Republicans were planning to control other votes in 2022 for control of Congress. This was especially true for moderate Democrats who are facing tight re-elections.

McConnell stated that they would include votes to prevent the release of illegal immigrants with COVID-19. He also said that the vote would be used to prod pandemic-shuttered school to reopen and to ban taxpayer-financed abortions.

Budget blueprint envisages new programs, including tuition-free community college and prekindergarten, paid family leave, and a Civilian Climate Corps that would help with environmental projects. Millions of illegal immigrants would have the opportunity to become citizens. States would also be offered financial incentives to encourage them to adopt labor-friendly laws.

Medicare would offer dental, hearing, and vision benefits. There would also be tax credits and grants to encourage utilities and other industries to adopt clean energy. Federal subsidies for health insurance and child tax credits would be increased to meet the pandemic.

Democrats see savings in allowing the government to negotiate the prices of pharmaceuticals it purchases, as well as lowering taxes on imported carbon fuels.