House Democrats have consolidated President Biden’s first-term domestic policy initiatives into a massive 2,465-page resolution to expand the nation’s social safety net and combatting climate change.
On Monday, August 9, Senate Democrats issued their $3.5 trillion budget resolution, the latest step in their effort to increase education, health care, and child care support, address the catastrophic climate change, and secure further infrastructure investments.
Democratic leaders hope to use the budget agreement to advance the substantial expansion of the nation’s social safety net envisioned in President Joe Biden’s jobs and families initiatives, which have been stymied by Republican resistance.
Although Republicans oppose the $3.5 trillion bill, Democrats are attempting to pass it through a budgeting process known as reconciliation, which requires only Democratic support. However, this would necessitate a “yes” vote from every Senate Democrat, and two of them, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, have stated that they will not support it unless the price is reduced. Manchin issued a statement Wednesday night repeating his call for a strategic “pause” in the legislation, arguing that the country should not be spending trillions of dollars right now.
Summary of Budget Committee Resolution:
Increased Family Support
Multiple initiatives from Biden’s $1.8 trillion American Families Plan are included in the resolution. There will be universal Pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds and a new child care subsidy for working families says the budget blueprint. For all 3- and 4-year-olds, the American Families Plan proposes a $200 billion federal expenditure in a national-state collaboration. When fully implemented, the administration predicts it will benefit 5 million kids and save $13,000 per household. It would be available to all families regardless of income, although states would have to cover around half the costs.
Enhanced federal Health Care Programs And Assistance
The plan calls for expanding Medicare’s dental, vision, and hearing coverage, as well as reducing the qualifying age — long-held demands of Budget Committee Chairman and Vermont independent Bernie Sanders. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, nearly half of Medicare enrollees, or 24 million Americans, lack dental coverage.
Another significant feature in the bill seeks to reduce prescription drug costs. According to the White House, Americans pay two to three times as much for prescription medications as other countries. The law also empowers Medicare to bargain for lower prescription pricing. Medicare cannot currently negotiate for the best offer.
Battles Climate Change
By 2030, the US electricity grid should be fueled by emissions-free alternatives, according to Biden’s aims. There are new polluter charges, consumer rebates for home electrification and weatherization, sustainable energy, manufacturing, and transportation tax breaks, and electrification of federal vehicles and buildings.
Investments In Jobs and Infrastructure
The Democrats want to allocate more funds to infrastructure projects that are not covered by the bipartisan plan. But Biden needed bipartisan backing for some of the provisions, which included modernizing aging Veterans facilities, reviving American industry, and expanding job training and workforce development programs.
For instance, the plan would grant the Small Business Administration $5 million annually for an entrepreneurial program for retirees. The bill also authorizes the Justice Department to give $2.5 billion in competitive grants or contracts to local governments, community-based organizations, and other entities to prevent community violence.
Plans for Offset
The Senate Budget Committee claims the investments will be fully offset by increased tax revenues, health care savings, and long-term economic development, although the statement lacks details. Options include corporate and international tax reform, as well as IRS tax enforcement, all of which Republicans rejected in the bipartisan infrastructure measure.