WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told Senate Democrats on Monday that once the chamber passes the bipartisan infrastructure package this week, they will “immediately move” to pass a budget resolution that will allow their party to craft a $3.5 trillion social safety net bill.
Democrats are using the budget reconciliation process to pass the measure with a simple majority vote in the Senate, circumventing the filibuster. The budget resolution that Schumer, D-N.Y., plans to bring to the floor will provide reconciliation instructions to a group of committees that will each be responsible for writing parts of the bill.
Schumer said in a letter to his caucus Monday that “every Senator will have opportunities to shape and influence the final reconciliation bill after adoption of the Budget Resolution.”
“At its core, this legislation is about restoring the middle class in the 21st Century and giving more Americans the opportunity to get there,” Schumer said. “This legislation will provide the largest tax cut for American families in a generation, while making the wealthy pay their fair share. In all phases, we will concentrate on communities that have too often been neglected, including communities of color and Native Americans.”
The budget resolution will instruct the relevant committees to submit their pieces of the reconciliation package by Sept. 15.
“The committees with reconciliation instructions will work closely with their House counterparts to write this legislation,” Schumer said. “We will work towards this goal and meet, as a caucus, during the week of the 15th to review the bill.”
A summary of the budget resolution released Monday shows that Democrats want to include provisions in the reconciliation bill that would fund programs for families, that combat climate change, and health care.
Democrats aim, for example, to establish universal Pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, make community college tuition-free for two years, provide green cards to millions of immigrant workers and families and reduce prescription drug costs, among many other things.
“The $3.5 trillion Budget Resolution that I am introducing today will allow the Senate to move forward on a reconciliation bill that will be the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. “Under this budget, however, no family making under $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in taxes and will, in fact, receive one of the largest tax cuts in American history.”
The Senate is expected to pass the bipartisan infrastructure package Tuesday, and the process to pass the budget resolution could take some time because of Senate rules. Last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made clear that the House wouldn’t take up the bipartisan bill until the reconciliation bill is also ready for consideration.
Rebecca Shabad is a congressional reporter for NBC News, based in Washington.
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