Senate Democrats announced a $3.5 trillion budget package that includes plans to expand Medicare and advance Biden priorities such as infrastructure and battling climate change; plus, more top stories in Democratic politics.
Democrats in the Senate have reached a partisan agreement to pursue a $3.5 trillion package that seeks to expand Medicare benefits, give federal safety net programs a significant boost, and combat climate change through major funding for clean energy, NBC reported.
The package includes a wide array and historic federal spending levels in health, education, and social programs. Medicare expands to include new benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing coverage.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “If we pass this, this is the most profound change to help American families in generations.”
The package would be a separate companion to the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure deal assembled on a bipartisan basis, the Washington Post reported.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden spoke out on voting rights at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, asking his GOP counterparts: “Have you no shame?”
Biden’s speech focused on Republican-led efforts across the country to restrict voting access, NPR reported. Biden speech comes as Democrat lawmakers from the state House in Texas exited the state to prevent a quorum and stall a vote on voting reform legislation.
“This is a test of our time,” Biden said. “We’ll be asking my Republican friends in Congress and states and cities and counties to stand up, for God’s sake, and help prevent this concerted effort to undermine our election and the sacred right to vote.”
Vice President Kamala Harris hinted that she had held discussions with senators about making exceptions to the legislative filibuster. Harris told NPR in an interview on Tuesday that she will not be publicly negotiating the issue, saying that the White House insists it is up to lawmakers.
“I’m not going to negotiate this way,” Harris said. “But I’m certainly having conversations with folks.”
“I believe that of all of the issues that the United States Congress can take up, the right to vote is the right that unlocks all the other rights,” Harris said. “And for that reason, it should be one of its highest priorities.”