Aug 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House Democrats pass $3.5 trillion budget resolution

Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

House Democrats passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution on Tuesday, 220-212, advancing the party’s effort to pass a sweeping economic package that would expand the nation’s social safety net.

Why it matters: Democrats now will be able to use the budget reconciliation process to pass a bill — likely later this fall — by a simple majority, tackling key priorities like health care, child care and climate change.

  • The budget resolution — passed as a rule that also set up floor action on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and advances voting rights legislation — came as part of a deal between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and moderates. The deal is key to advancing Democrats' top three priorities.
  • The budget bill is one part of a process set up to enact President Biden’s landmark domestic legislation.
  • The reconciliation process means a bill can pass without support from Republicans, who have already voiced their opposition.

Between the lines: The budget was passed after days of infighting among Democrats over the order in which they would pass both the resolution and a rule to proceed on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

  • Moderates fought to pass the bipartisan bill first, while progressives, backed by Pelosi, insisted that both bills would need to be passed simultaneously. All 10 moderates voted for the budget.

What’s next: There is still a long road ahead before Democrats will vote on or pass a final budget resolution.

  • The working date to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill is Sept. 27.
  • It is unlikely that the reconciliation bill, which is still in the process of being drafted through different congressional committees, will be written by then.
  • Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) have publicly expressed concern over the price tag of the reconciliation bill, and their votes are critical to passage.
  • Because Democrats can’t spare a single member, this could mean they will need to pare down the bill before it is brought to a vote.

Go deeper: Senate Democrats release $3.5 trillion budget resolution

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