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Senate votes to open debate on massive $3.5 trillion budget plan

Sen. Chuck Schumer
Posted at 4:31 AM, Aug 11, 2021

The Senate took the first steps early Wednesday morning toward passing a massive $3.5 trillion Biden-administration-backed budget bill to increase spending on climate change, childcare, eldercare and education.

Amid a marathon session ahead of the Senate's summer break, members voted along party lines, 50 to 49, to approve the framework of the budget reconciliation package. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., missed the budget votes to tend to his sick wife.

The legislation opens debate and outlines the framework of the forthcoming bill and would protect it from the 60-vote minimum filibuster.

The bill now moves to the House, which has promised to take up the measure once it returns from its summer break. The bill is expected to pass along party lines in the House and then legislators will begin negotiations and amendments on the final package.

Negotiations on the budget bill are expected to extend into the late summer and early fall.

The Senate's move came amid a marathon session where it passed President Joe Biden's proposed $1 trillion infrastructure package. That bill will provide funding for improvements to roads, highways, public transportation, waterworks and broadband internet.

Biden had hoped to include some of the provisions in the budget package as part of one infrastructure bill. However, spending provisions focused on climate change, childcare and other "human infrastructure" were roped into budget reconciliation to get Republicans on board as a bipartisan piece of legislation.

Upon the bill's passage, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer offered a message to progressive Democrats, saying that he planned to take care of some of the left wing's concerns.

"To my colleagues who are concerned that this does not do enough on climate, for families, and making corporations and the rich pay their fair share: We are moving on to a second track, which will make a generational transformation in these areas," Schumer said, according to the Associated Press.

Schumer discusses the passage of the infrastructure bill and budget resolution: