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US Senate passes $3.5 trillion proposal on party lines
With the Democratic Party holding the majority in the US Senate, they are taking advantage of this time to put forward legislation that would further bring forward the agenda of US President Joe Biden. Following the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure plan, the Senate Democrats have approved of the massive $3.5 trillion budget proposal.
The Senate approved the sweeping $3.5 trillion plan early Wednesday morning. The vote was done on party lines via reconciliation as the Republican Senators have unanimously opposed the bill. The plan would provide an expansion of Medicare and other social reforms, including investments in green energy.
The Senate’s approval of the blueprint came after the process dubbed “vote-a-rama,” where lawmakers are allowed to offer a number of non-binding amendments to the resolution. The GOP senators took the opportunity to make amendments that denounce tax hikes for the wealthiest households, a ban on the teaching of “Critical Race Theory” in public and elementary schools, and push for a $50 billion increase in the Pentagon’s budget.
The Democratic senators also brought in amendments of their own. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, expressed support of taxing the 0.1 percent. The amendment did not pass as three Democrats; Kyrsten Sinema, Jeanne Shaheen, and Maggie Hassan all voted no. The Senate also rejected the additional funding for the Pentagon by votes of 46-53, which has earned praise from the anti-war group Code Pink.
The proposal will now proceed to the House, alongside the bipartisan infrastructure bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has previously said that the House will not take a vote on the infrastructure bill unless the reconciliation bill is passed. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that the House will cut its recess to take on the vote on August 23.
Meanwhile, progressive Democratic group Meidas Touch released an ad, mocking the disgraced former President Donald Trump for his failed promises in delivering an infrastructure plan. This comes as Biden was able to achieve passage of an infrastructure bill in a fraction of the time Trump was in office. The video featured a long-running joke under the Trump administration that was “Infrastructure Week,” as Trump’s two previous press secretaries and vice president Mike Pence had continuously promised over the four years.