The weeks upon weeks of negotiations leading up to the passage of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill were just the prelude to the absolute whopper that is the Bernie Sanders budget resolution, which hit the wires Monday morning and will hit the Senate floor Tuesday.
The $3.5 trillion document is a full-on attempt to remake the American economy, the labor markets, blow off our immigration laws, rewrite the tax code, impose a climate agenda, and profoundly alter the relationship between the government, and those it governs.
Among the bill’s highlights:
- Amnesty for illegal immigrants
- Rewrites Medicaid statutes to bypass the Hyde prohibitions on federal funding for abortion
- Universal pre-kindergarten for 3 and 4-year-olds
- Paid family and medical leave
- Tuition-free community college
- Medicare expansion for dental, hearing, and vision
- Expansive climate change programs
- Language similar to the PRO Act, which is a card-check program for labor organizing, making it easier to unionize
- Expansion of the SALT deduction
- Empowers the IRS with more enforcement capabilities
- Does not include an extension of pandemic unemployment benefits
- Does not include a debt limit increase, which sets up a September showdown
- Up to half of the $3.5 trillion is financed with new debt
- Increases taxes on corporations and those making more than $400,000 a year; decreases taxes on those making less
It is important to note that congressional budgets are blueprints. Budget resolutions never become law; they merely provide the umbrella document, or the outline, under which appropriations – the actual spending – takes place. Much of that process will begin in September when Senate committees put forward their reconciliation bill. Reconciliation also has an associated unlimited amendment process, or vote-a-rama, and passes with a simple majority.
Taken together, this current $1 trillion infrastructure bill, plus the $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which will be accompanied with a reconciliation bill of potentially an even greater amount, is one of the most aggressive efforts from Democrats in the modern era to transform the economy in their image.
At some level, you have to respect the moxie. Democrats are using a Democrats-only reconciliation package to transform the country. Republicans couldn’t even muster the votes on their own side to use reconciliation to repeal Obamacare.