Have Senate Democrats Approved a $3.5 Trillion Spending Plan?

It’s early and the text still needs to be written, but this is good news.

Lauren Elizabeth

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Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images, FILE

It’s still incredibly early days and the legislation still needs to be written, but — depending on how it all turns out — I will be the first to eat my previous words. Early Wednesday, August 11th, Senate Democrats managed what I considered to be unlikely: they have apparently agreed to a $3.5 trillion spending plan. Kelsey Snell with NPR writes:

“Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has released the text of a $3.5 trillion budget framework that is meant to give Democrats the opportunity to approve major federal investments in child care, family leave and climate change provisions without support of congressional Republicans.

In a letter sent Monday morning, Schumer told Democrats that the goal is for committees to write legislation to fulfill the spending targets by Sept. 15.”

Snell goes on to write that the framework includes specific targets such as $200 billion to go towards clean energy development, and $726 billion for the Health, Labor, Education and Pensions committee to address issues like universal pre-k.

While this is excellent news and a step in the right direction, CNN’s Claire Foran and Ali Zaslav were quick to point out that the package will need to be put together in a way that ensures the backing of every democrat ranging from moderates to progressives, and the challenge that could still be posed by the familiar roadblock known as Kyrsten Sinema. Laughably, CNN also warned of the unelected senate staffer/advisor known as the parliamentarian who “may rule” against certain priorities (without pointing out that Democrats can overrule the parliamentarian if they chose to do so).

Considering the $3.5 trillion price tag was even in question before, this is all still a step in the right direction. Before getting too optimistic or cynical, it’ll be interesting to see what’s in the text of the legislation and how the money is ultimately appropriated.

All that being said, there’s not a doubt in my mind that progressives in congress insisting they would vote no on the bipartisan infrastructure bill without this package is going to…

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Lauren Elizabeth

Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx