Senate Adopts a $3.5 Trillion Budget Plan Without a Single Republican Vote
The Senate unanimous vote made up solely of Democratic members approved President Joe Biden's enormous budget proposal to extend the social safety net, including funds for universal pre-kindergarten, free community college, and climate change mitigation.
On a party-line vote in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the United States Senate approved a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint, a significant step toward passage of sprawling legislation that would expand Medicare, establish paid family and medical leave, address climate change, and address climate change make significant investments in renewable energy.
The Senate adopted the budget framework after an hour-long spectacle nicknamed "vote-a-rama," in which senators were allowed to submit an unlimited number of basically pointless, non-binding amendments to the resolution before voting on it.
President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are dedicated to addressing the long-ignored issues of working people, not just the top one percent of the income distribution and wealthy political contributors.
Senate Republicans, who have overwhelmingly opposed Democrats' $3.5 trillion budget proposal, took advantage of the opportunity to introduce dozens of messaging amendments opposing tax increases on the wealthy; advocating for a ban on the teaching of "critical race theory" in pre-kindergarten programs and elementary and secondary schools, and requesting a $50 billion increase to the Pentagon's already bloated budget.
Democratic senators have also proposed changes to the measure.
Earlier this year, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, offered an amendment expressing support for tax increases on the nation's most affluent 0.1 percent population.
Every Democrat, as well as Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), and Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire), voted against the legislation, joining every Republican.
CodePink, an anti-war group, applauded the Senate's rejection of the Pentagon amendment, which passed by a vote of 46 to 53 late Tuesday.
According to Carley Towne, co-director of CodePink, "this vote should be viewed as a litmus test for our lawmakers' commitment to really addressing the climate crisis."
As stated in the IPCC report, which was released earlier this week, if we have any chance of addressing the climate issue, we must substantially reduce expenditure on the Pentagon, which is the world's largest institutional producer of greenhouse gases.
"This vote should be viewed as a test of how committed our representatives are to actually addressing the climate crisis," said Carley Towne, CodePink's co-director. "The IPCC report released earlier this week made clear that if we're going to have any chance at addressing the climate crisis, we need to slash funding for the Pentagon, which is the largest institutional producer of greenhouse gases in the world."
Having passed the Senate, the $3.5 trillion budget resolution now goes to the House of Representatives, which may either approve it as-is or modify it and resubmit it to the Senate.
On Tuesday, Hoyer (D-Md.) said that the House's vacation would be cut short of discussing the bill on August 23.
If the House approves the budget blueprint. In that case, congressional committees will begin turning it into a legal text, which is expected to take until the middle of September at the earliest.
Once the package has been finished, Democrats will utilize budget reconciliation, which is not subject to the legislative filibuster, to pass the bill with just 50 votes if they have a majority in the Senate.
The senator from Vermont, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), noted in a floor speech before Wednesday's voting session that Republicans have frequently exploited the budget reconciliation process to reward the wealthy and large corporations, citing, in particular, the $1.5 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2017.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who headed the Senate Budget Committee and was the main architect of the $3.5 trillion deal, stated, "I recognize that many of my Republican colleagues are reeling at the moment."
"The American people want a government which represents all of us, and not just a few," "This legislation is going to ask the wealthy and the powerful to start paying their fair share of taxes so that we can address the needs of working families, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor. "
It is difficult for them to believe that the president and the Democratic caucus are ready to address the long-neglected issues of working families, rather than simply the interests of the top one percent and wealthy political contributors."
To fulfill the needs of working families, the elderly, children, the sick, and the impoverished, this legislation would compel the wealthy and powerful to begin paying their fair amount of taxes.
The $3.5 trillion budget resolution received unanimous approval from all 50 Democratic senators; nevertheless, the framework only lay the groundwork for the following reconciliation agreement.
Conservative Democrats, including Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), have indicated that they may reject that level of spending, setting the scene for a potential confrontation with progressives in the House and Senate over the legislation's specifics in the coming weeks.
Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) said on Tuesday that Democrats must embrace this chance to pass transformative legislation in order to save millions of lives and guarantee the prosperity of the nation's future economy.
"In order to save millions of lives and have a chance at a thriving future economy, Democrats must take advantage of this moment and pass transformative legislation."
"The $3.5 trillion in the Democrat-led budget resolution making its way through the Senate right now is much closer to what we need, but it still doesn't go far enough. We must absolutely pass that bill, but I will be doing everything in my power over the coming weeks and months to advance and support other pieces of legislation that reflect the scope and scale of the crises we face."
In the Democratic-led budget plan now making its way through the Senate, the amount of $3.5 trillion is much closer to what we need, but it is still inadequate.