Last week, Senate leaders and the Administration laid down a marker for a budget resolution that, if adopted by both houses, would open up a reconciliation bill for this fall. If passed by both houses, the budget resolution sets spending levels for the 12 appropriations bills, but in this case, it also includes a reconciliation instruction for committees to act on. Perhaps most importantly, it allows the Senate to bypass the filibuster. The resolution would allow for enacting a version of the President’s “American Families Plan.”
What was unveiled by Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) is very broad in its outlines, as is always the case with resolutions. It sets spending instructions, reductions, and potential tax changes and would assign the relevant committees in the House and Senate to fill in the details.
The goal would be that the Senate take up their bipartisan transportation/infrastructure bill in the following weeks through regular Senate order. Potentially the Senate would take up the resolution shortly before they leave for summer recess in the first days of August. Presumably, the resolution would be constructed with House input for their later approval. If that happens, final action on a reconciliation bill would happen in September, perhaps October, with a final infrastructure bill and 12 appropriations bills operating on their own autumn legislative tracks. There are no votes for Schumer to lose within his caucus, so it cannot be too cold or too hot for all 50 senators on the Democratic side, which means they will have to keep House members involved and in line.
What has been released would: provide for a $3.5 trillion package over the 5/10 year framework with it paid for (offset) through health care savings (think prescription drug reform), reforming the tax code (rolling back some of the Trump corporate and individual tax cuts) and long term economic growth from various programs.
The tax changes would include extending the Child Tax Credit (a CWLA priority), expansion of Earned Income Tax Credit (including youth formerly in foster care), and Child and Dependent Care Tax Credits.
Other human service expansions would include a significant expansion of child care moving toward universality, creating a paid family and medical leave program (another area of CWLA support), and potential fortifications of the ACA, as well as some potential expansion of Medicare for vision and dental care. Other areas include the Administration’s desire to provide two years of community college.