Senate Democrats extended the vote until 4:00 a.m. Wednesday to approve the $3.5 trillion “human capital” budget passed in Senate. Biden’s plan seeks to make large program transfers in education, health care, climate change, and other provisions. The program passed without GOP support.
Tuesday and Wednesday morning’s proceedings proceeded rather slowly, marked by endless amendment votes, which allow lawmakers to vote on specific items of legislation.
Ultimately, the vote ended 50-49, a day after the Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure plan, which was supported by 19 GOP senators.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) celebrated the passage of the $3.5 trillion budget by claiming that Democrats had taken “a big step forward to restore the middle class to the 21st century.” On the other side, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Democrats’ budget is “full of bold taxes and spending.”
The razor-thin margins by which the budget was passed leave the possibility open for Republicans to influence future negotiations to approve what will come included in the final legislation of the Democrats’ “human infrastructure” plan. Indeed, Senators from both parties will continue in talks throughout the August recess.
Divisions within the Democratic party about the budget passed in Senate
Within the Democratic Party itself, there were voices of concern over the passage of the budget. In voting on the amendments, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) sided with the Republicans in opposing the amendment proposed by another Senator from her party, Catherine Cortez (D-Nev) that called for “protecting family farms, ranches and small businesses while ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share.”
For his part, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), stated: “I have serious concerns about the dire consequences that will face the people of West Virginia and, all Americans if Congress decides to spend another $3.5 billion.”
Manchin also added that “given the current state of the economic recovery, it is simply irresponsible to continue spending at levels more appropriate for a Great Depression or – a Great Recession – not with an economy on the verge of overheating,” warning of growing concerns that inflation will spiral out of control in the United States.
Although the party-line vote forced them to vote in favor of the budget for the “human capital” plan, Democratic senators like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema may favor the GOP more in negotiating what will ultimately go into the legislation that will implement the approved budget.
President Biden and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party have supported the implementation of a 43% capital gains tax on earnings over $1 million to fund the plan. The funding proposal has set off alarms among the Republican Party and even creates skepticism and doubts among some members of the Democratic Party.
Although the budget for Biden’s human infrastructure plan was approved, the razor-thin margins and the number of dissenting members leave the Democratic Party leadership with far less leeway than they had hoped for in drafting legislation to implement the approved budget.