The initial Senate resolution provides recommendations from the Senate Budget Committee to other committees. The bill itself has yet to be written, and the elements of it will likely be modified as it works its way through each committee.
Lawmakers have a target date of September 15 to submit their detailed legislation, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The House has 13 committees of jurisdiction that have been working behind the scenes to get their portions of the reconciliation package done and ready for a floor vote later this month.
However, a memorandum to Democratic senators specifies that new taxes on families making less than $400,000 a year, small businesses and family farms would be prohibited.
Here’s what’s in the Budget Committee’s resolution summary:
Broader supports for families
The budget framework seeks to establish a universal Pre-K program for 3- and 4-year-olds and a new child care benefit for working families.
Under the American Families Plan, the federal government would invest $200 billion in universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds through a national partnership with states. The administration estimates it would benefit 5 million children and save the average family $13,000 when fully implemented. It would be accessible to families of all income levels, but states would be required to foot about 50% of the cost when the measure is fully up and running.
The framework also calls for enhancing child care for working families. Under Biden’s proposal, low- and middle-income households would pay no more than 7% of their income on child care for kids younger than age 5. Parents earning up to 1.5 times the median income in their state would qualify. The President also wants to invest more in the child care workforce to bring their wages up to $15 an hour, from the typical $12.24 hourly rate they earned in 2020.
The blueprint proposes making community college tuition-free for two years. Under Biden’s plan, the federal government would cover about 75% of the average tuition cost in each state when the program is fully implemented, with states picking up the rest. States would also be expected to maintain their current contributions to their higher education systems.
The resolution calls for increasing the Pell Grant award and making investments in historically Black colleges and universities, as well as other institutions that cater to students of color. The President’s plan would provide up to approximately $1,400 in additional assistance to low-income students by increasing the Pell Grant award.
The blueprint asks to create the first federal paid and medical leave benefit. The American Families Plan calls for giving workers a total of 12 weeks of guaranteed paid parental, family and personal illness/safe leave by the 10th year of the program.
Expanded federal health care programs and assistance
Nearly half of Medicare beneficiaries, or 24 million people, did not have dental coverage, as of 2019, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report.
The subsidies reduce the amount Obamacare enrollees have to pay to no more than 8.5% of their income and make assistance available to more Americans. Also, lower-income policyholders can receive subsidies that eliminate their premiums completely. But the boost in aid is only available this year and next.
In addition, the budget blueprint proposes investing in home and community-based services to help seniors, the disabled and home care workers. Biden had included a $400 billion investment in these areas in his original infrastructure proposal, but it did not make the final package.
In addition, it calls for promoting health equity, particularly investing in maternal, behavioral and racial justice health measures. Health equity has been one of the priorities of the Biden administration.
Combats climate change
The resolution seeks to make investments aiming to meet Biden’s goals of reducing economy-wide carbon emissions by 50% and for the US power grid to get 80% of its power from emissions-free sources before 2030.
It calls for implementing new polluter fees, creating new consumer rebates for home electrification and weatherization, providing clean energy, manufacturing, and transportation tax incentives and grants and electrifying the federal vehicle fleet and buildings.
It would also invest in agriculture conservation, drought and forestry programs to help reduce carbon emissions and prevent wildfires.
Invests more in infrastructure and jobs
The Democrats want to make even more investments in infrastructure projects that would not be funded by the bipartisan infrastructure package.
Biden wanted some of these investments in the infrastructure bill — like improving aging Veterans Administration hospitals, boosting American manufacturing, job training and workforce development programs — but he also wanted bipartisan support and the provisions were cut out during months of negotiations.
The budget resolution would invest in affordable housing, Native American infrastructure, and create what Biden is calling a Civilian Climate Corporations to employ thousands of young people to work conserving public lands and waters, bolstering community resilience and advancing environmental justice.
It also calls for providing green cards to millions of immigrant workers and families.
This story has been updated to reflect the current state of negotiations.