The $3.5 trillion budget outline introduced by Senate Democrats this week has wide ranging implications for the government’s role in health care, child care, schools, the social safety net, poverty programs and climate change. The budget “blueprint” could put in place President Biden’s major policy priorities, but the chance of passage this year are still far from certain, as Democrats need to get all 50 of their votes in the Senate to pass the legislation under the reconciliation process. This blueprint is not to be confused with the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure agreement that is slated to be considered on the Senate floor next week.
Though details are still sparse, the budget blueprint includes the following provisions:
- Extending Medicare to include dental, vision and hearing coverage.
- “Closing the Medicaid gap” – meaning providing affordable coverage for the roughly 2 million low-income residents living in red states that have refused to expand Medicaid.
- Universal prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds, child care subsidies and an increase in the maximum Pell Grant to defray college costs for lower-income students.
- Provide more nutrition assistance, paid family and medical leave, and affordable housing.
- Extend the increase in the Child Tax Credit, which Congress enhanced through the ARPA stimulus bill in March, to a maximum of $3,600 a year for children under 6 years old and $3,000 for older kids. The plan would also continue the current increase of this tax credit.
- A pathway to citizenship for several key undocumented groups such as the Dreamers who came to the U.S. as children and “essential workers” during the pandemic.