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Senate approves Democrats’ $ 3.5 million budget framework in party line vote – NBC4 Washington

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Democrats pushed a $ 3.5 trillion framework to bolster family services, health and environment programs in the Senate early Wednesday, advancing President Joe Biden’s broad vision to reshape federal priorities within hours only after giving him a companion triumph over a big package of infrastructure.

Lawmakers approved the Democrats’ budget resolution on a 50-49 vote in the party line, a crucial step for a president and party committed to forming the fiscal powerhouse of government to help families, create jobs and fight against climate change. Higher taxes on the rich and on businesses would pay a big chunk of it. The move took place despite an avalanche of Republican amendments intended to make rivals pay the price in next year’s election for control of Congress.

House leaders have announced that their chamber will return from summer recess in two weeks to vote on the budget plan, which envisions disbursing the $ 3.5 trillion over the next decade. The seemingly certain final Congressional approval would protect a subsequent bill enacting the detailed spending and tax changes to a Republican filibuster’s plan in the Senate 50-50 from delays that would otherwise kill him.

Even so, passing this follow-up legislation will be risky, with party moderates wary of the whopping $ 3.5 trillion price tag competing with progressives demanding aggressive action. The party controls the House with only three votes in reserve, while the equally divided Senate belongs only to the decisive vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. Strong opposition from the GOP seems guaranteed.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Once a progressive voice in the wasteland of Congress and now a national figure wielding legislative power, said the measure would help children, families, individuals seniors and workers – and more.

“It will also, I hope, restore the faith of the American people in the belief that we can have a government that works for all of us, not just a few,” he said.

Republicans argued that the Democrats’ proposals would waste money, raise economically damaging taxes, fuel inflation, and codify far-left diktats that hurt Americans. They were happy to use Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist, to try to tar all Democrats backing the measure.

If Biden and the Senate Democrats want to “outsource domestic politics to President Sanders” with a “historically reckless tax and spending frenzy,” Republicans don’t have the voices to stop them, conceded the leader. Senatorial Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “But we will debate. We will vote. ”

The Senate turned to the budget hours after approving the other big chunk of Biden’s goals, a $ 1 trillion compromise package of transportation, water, broadband and other projects. infrastructure. The measure, passed 69-30 with McConnell among the 19 Republicans who back it, also requires House approval.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., assured progressives Congress would pursue sweeping initiatives that go beyond this infrastructure package.

“To my colleagues who fear that this will not do enough for the climate, for families, and for companies and the rich to pay their fair share: we are moving on to a second track, which will make a generational transformation in these areas”, Schumer said.

Senator Mike Rounds, RS.D., missed the budget votes to be with his sick wife.

In a budgetary ritual, senators immersed themselves in a “vote-a-rama,” an endless parade of messaging amendments that often becomes a painful ordeal all night. This time around, the Senate held more than 40 roll calls as it approved the measure at around 4 a.m. EDT, more than 2 p.m. after the procedural misery began.

With the budget resolution being largely advisory, the goal of most of the amendments was not to win but to force vulnerable senators from the other party to vote against them in next year’s election for scrutiny of Congress.

Republicans sang after Democrats opposed GOP amendments calling for the full-time reopening of closed schools in the event of a pandemic and increasing the Pentagon budget and maintaining limits on federal tax deductions for students. state and local levies. They were also happy when Democrats showed support for Biden’s now-suspended ban on oil and gas rentals on federal lands, which Republicans said would cause gasoline prices to rise.

An amendment may have exploded after the Senate voted 99-0 for a proposal by freshman Senator Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., To cut federal funds for all municipalities that fund police. This idea has been rejected by all but the most progressive Democrats, but Republicans have always accused them of supporting it.

In an animated and sardonic retort, Senator Cory Booker, DN.J., called the Tuberville Amendment a “gift” that would allow Democrats to “put to bed this slanderous accusation that someone in this esteemed great body would like to fund the police “. He said he wanted to “go over there and kiss my coworker.”

Republicans claimed two narrow wins with potential implications for future votes, with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, one of the most conservative Democrats in the chamber, joining them on the two non-binding amendments.

One said he supported health care providers who refuse to participate in abortions. The other opposed the teaching of Critical Race Theory, which considers racism endemic in American institutions. There is little evidence that this is part of public school curricula.

The budget plan calls for the creation of new programs, including a tuition-free preschool and community college, paid family leave and a Civilian Climate Corps whose workers would tackle environmental projects. Millions of immigrants to the United States illegally would have another chance at citizenship, and there would be financial incentives for states to pass more labor-friendly laws.

Medicare would add dental, hearing and vision benefits, and tax credits and subsidies would spur utilities and industries to embrace clean energy. Strengthened child tax credits for the pandemic would be extended, as would federal subsidies for health insurance.

In addition to higher taxes on the rich and corporate, Democrats envision savings by letting the government negotiate the prices of the pharmaceuticals it purchases, imposing taxes on imported carbon fuels, and strengthening tax collections for the economy. IRS. Democrats have said their policies will be fully paid for, but they won’t make any final decisions until this fall’s follow-up bill.


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