Senate Democrats announced late Tuesday that they'd reached a budget agreement envisioning spending an enormous $3.5 trillion over the coming decade, paving the way for their drive to pour federal resources into climate change, health care, and family-service programs sought by President Biden. The accord marks a major step in the party’s push to meet Biden’s goal of bolstering an economy that was ravaged by the pandemic and setting it on course for long-term growth—and includes a Medicare expansion of vision, hearing, and dental benefits for older Americans, a goal of progressives. But Democrats behind the agreement face possible objections from their rival moderate and progressive factions, and will have to work hard to convert their plans into legislation they can push through the closely divided Congress over what could be unanimous Republican opposition, the AP reports.
“We are very proud of this plan,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters. “We know we have a long road to go. We’re going to get this done for the sake of making average Americans' lives a whole lot better.” Biden was set to attend a closed-door lunch at the Capitol on Wednesday with all Senate Democrats “to lead us on to getting this wonderful plan” enacted, Schumer said. All told, the ambitious proposal reflects Biden’s vision for making the most substantive potential investments in the nation in years, some say on par with the New Deal of the 1930s. Together with a slimmer, $1 trillion bipartisan effort of traditional road, highway, and public works also being negotiated, they represent close to the president’s initial $4 trillion-plus effort that could reach almost every corner of the country. The Democrats' goal is to push a budget resolution reflecting Tuesday's agreement through the House and Senate before lawmakers leave for their August recess. (More here.)