Top Dem says it is difficult to find $3.5T in social and climate plans

After securing an initial budget win, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer admitted Wednesday that Democrats have a difficult path to delivering a $3.5 trillion package to President Joe Biden. The package would fund family, health, and environment programs.

Top Dem says it is difficult to find $3.5T in social and climate plans

Schumer, D.N.Y. made these remarks after the Senate passed a budget resolution that detailed the Democrat's 10-year plan to transform the government into an engine for helping low- and middle-income people and slowing down the planet's alarmingly rising temperatures.

The true test will come when Democrats actually write and vote on legislation that enacts the party's priorities into specific spending or tax policies. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will need to meet competing demands from party moderates concerned about a high price tag and progressives seeking an aggressive drive for their priorities. There is virtually no margin of error in the narrowly divided Congress.

Schumer said to reporters that there is still a lot of road ahead. He used a football analogy to explain this. It's like we catch a long pass at midfield. But we still have 50 yards before we score a touchdown.

Some might even compare it to halfway up Mount Everest, with the more difficult climb ahead. It's easier for leaders and legislators to get votes for a budget plan than when they are writing changes in spending or tax laws that will have a profound impact on voters, interest groups, and campaign contributors.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) stated in a statement that he is concerned about the "grave consequences" of spending $3.5 trillion more. He said that this could increase inflation and threaten the economy. Manchin's views, which are among the Senate's most conservative Democrats clash with progressives’ hopes for this amount or more.

A large portion of the cost of the Democrats' proposal would be borne entirely by wealthy individuals and large corporations. This is another area in which centrist Democrats might be cautious.

Tuesday's Senate approval of the compromise $1 trillion package of infrastructure, water and transportation projects, was another big part of Biden’s goals. The Senate passed the measure 69-30, with 19 Republicans supporting it. However, approval from the House is still needed.

Over the opposition of all Republicans, 50-49, the Senate approved Wednesday's budget resolution at 4 AM EDT. It is expected to receive final congressional approval by the House in the latter part of this month.

The passage of the fiscal blueprint is crucial because it will protect a follow up bill that enacts specific Democratic policies from a GOP filibuster within the 50-50 Senate. This would otherwise cause that legislation to be killed. The House has a mere three-vote cushion for Democrats.

Schumer predicted that the final legislation, which the party hopes will be produced next month, will include "every aspect of the Biden Plan in a big bold, robust, and powerful way."

He did not state that the bill would cover all the amounts that Biden wants for his priorities. Some Biden policies might need to be reduced in ambition or phased out over time, in order to fit Democrats' budget goals.

Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is the Senate Budget Committee Chairman. He has been a driving force behind Democrats' drive. He stated that the measure would benefit children, families, and the working class -- and many 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 by wasting money, increasing taxes on the economy, fueling inflation, and codifying far-left doctrines that would hurt Americans.

Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) missed the budget votes in order to be with his wife, who is ill.

Senators were forced to engage in a "vote a-rama" during a budget ritual. This is a continuous parade of messaging amendments that can often become a long, painful and exhausting night. The Senate had held over 40 roll calls when it finally approved the measure at 4 AM EDT. This was more than 14 hours after the initial wretchedness.

The budget resolution was largely advisory. This meant that the purpose of most amendments wasn't to win, but to force vulnerable senators from the other party to cast unfavorable votes that could be used against them next year in elections for congressional control.

Republicans booed after Democrats opposed GOP amendments calling to the full-time reopening pandemic-shuttered schools, boosting Pentagon's budget, and maintaining limits on federal income tax deductions for local and state levies. They were also pleased when Democrats supported Biden's suspended ban on oil-and-gas leasing on federal lands. Republicans claimed that this would lead to higher gasoline prices.

After a 99-0 vote in the Senate for Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.)'s proposal to reduce federal funding for municipalities that defund police officers, one amendment could have been a success. Despite being rejected by most Democrats, Republicans persistently accuse them of supporting the idea.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) called Tuberville’s amendment "a gift" which would allow Democrats to "put to rest this scurrilous charge that someone in this great esteemed organization would want to fund the police." He stated that he wanted "to walk over there and hug my fellow."

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 provide dental, hearing, and vision benefits. Tax credits and grants would encourage utilities and industries to adopt clean energy. Federal subsidies for health insurance and child tax credits would be increased to meet the needs of 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. Although Democrats claim their policies will be fully funded, they won't make any final decisions until the fall's follow up bill.

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