Jul 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats announce $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Democrats on the Budget committee announced late Tuesday night that they have reached a deal on a $3.5 trillion package to address "human" infrastructure, which they plan to pass via reconciliation.

Why it matters: The price tag for the proposal — which is expected to include bold provisions on climate change, Medicare and education — comes in far below the $6 trillion figure Budget committee Chair Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and other progressive Democrats have pushed for.

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters after the meeting that President Biden will join Senate Democrats at their caucus lunch on Wednesday — his first in-person meeting with lawmakers on the Hill as president — to discuss the package.

Details: Schumer said the budget plan will cover all of the major Biden administration proposals on human infrastructure, including the president's families, climate and housing programs.

  • He added that the plan will also include "a robust expansion of Medicare, including … money for dental, vision and hearing."
  • While negotiators are still finalizing details, the proposal is expected to fully offset with new revenues, among other pay-fors.
  • How to pay for the package remains a key sticking point in passing the bill.

Between the lines: Democrats have their work cut out for them in order to pass this bill.

  • Democratic leaders will need to get all 50 Senate Democrats on board — a huge feat in the current makeup of the party.
  • The timing comes as several key moderate Democrats are simultaneously working on a $1 trillion bipartisan package on "hard" infrastructure.

State of play: Schumer has been clear for weeks that he wants the Senate to consider this package on a "dual track" with the bipartisan proposal — but time is running out if they want to meet their self-imposed deadline of getting this done by August recess.

Flashback: In blow to Bernie, $3.5T likely starting point for Dem-only infrastructure bill

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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