Senate Democrats have unveiled the text of a sweeping $3.5 trillion budget framework that includes plans for major investments in climate initiatives, the expansion of Medicare and the extension of the child tax credit.
In a letter sent Monday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told Democrats the goal is for committees to write the legislation to fulfill the spending targets set out in the budget resolution by Sept. 15.
Democrats plan to use a special budget rules process called reconciliation to pass this new spending, an approach that allows them to forge ahead without fear of running up against a Republican filibuster.
But the outcome is far from assured, as every Senate Democrat will need to get on board for the effort to be successful. Moderate Democrats, like Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, have already questioned the need for trillions in new spending.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has repeatedly said the House will not take up a vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate finishes work on this separate spending package.
Democratic lawmakers had previously offered an outline of the plan in mid-July. The White House lauded it as a “breakthrough” on one of President Biden’s major legislative priorities.
Here are the highlights of what we know so far about the resolution.
Total cost: $3.5 trillion
How it will be paid for: The plan calls for the investments to be offset by a combination of new tax revenues, health care savings and long-term economic growth. It calls for raising money through IRS enforcement and proposes a new fee on carbon pollution. The plan prohibits tax increases on families making under $400,000 a year, small businesses and family farms.
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee: $726 billion toward universal pre-k for 3 and 4-year olds, childcare for working families, tuition-free community college, investments in historically Black colleges and universities, and investments in primary care.
Judiciary Committee: $107 billion toward lawful permanent status for qualified immigrants, border security measures.
Finance Committee: At least $1 billion in deficit reduction, with investments in paid family and medical leave, ACA expansion extension, expanding Medicare to include dental, vision and hearing benefits along with lowering the eligibility age. Also included are investments to address health care provider shortages, the expansion of the child tax credit, long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities, clean energy, manufacturing, and transportation tax incentives, housing incentives.
The following offsets are listed for these initiatives: corporate and international tax reform, taxes from high-income individuals, IRS tax enforcement, health care savings and the carbon polluter import fee.
Agriculture Committee: $135 billion to go toward agriculture conservation, drought and forestry programs to reduce carbon emissions and prevent wildfires, climate research, debt relief, child nutrition, and funding for a Civilian Climate Corps. The budget outline aims to meet Biden’s goal of 80% clean electricity and 50% carbon emissions by 2030.
Banking and Housing Committee: $332 billion for housing affordability, rental assistance, homeownership initiatives, revitalization projects, zoning, transit improvements and public housing investments.
Energy and Natural Resources Committee: $198 billion toward clean electricity payment program, financing for domestic manufacturing of clean energy and auto supply chain technologies, federal procurement of energy efficient materials, and climate research.
Environment and Public Works Committee: $67 billion toward funding low-income solar technologies, environmental justice investments in clean water affordability and access, EPA climate and research programs, federal investments in energy efficient buildings and green materials, and investments in clean vehicles.
Homeland Security Committee: $37 billion toward improving cybersecurity infrastructure, border management investments, federal investments in green materials procurement.
Indian Affairs Committee: $20.5 billion toward Native health programs and facilities, education, housing, energy, and language programs.
Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee: $25 billion toward small business access to credit, investment and markets.
Veterans Affairs Committee: $18 billion toward upgrading VA facilities.
NPR’s Kelsey Snell contributed to this report.