Back in the United States, the Senate is voting on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that would see major investments in roads, public transit, clean water and green energy. But critics say it’s far short of what’s needed to tackle the climate crisis. On Monday, Senate Democrats released a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that contains many priorities left out of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, including funding for a Civilian Climate Corps that would provide millions of jobs, while imposing a minimum tax rate on the richest U.S. corporations. The legislation would also lower the Medicare eligibility age; expand the child tax credit; fund paid family and medical leave, universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds; and provide tuition-free community college. Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, compared the package to reforms used to battle the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “This is a budget resolution that will allow the Senate to move forward on a reconciliation bill that, in my view, will be the most consequential and comprehensive piece of legislation for working people, for the elderly, for the children, for the sick and for the poor that this body has addressed since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the New Deal in the 1930s.”
Democratic leaders hope to pass the legislation through a process known as “budget reconciliation” that allows them to bypass a filibuster by minority Republicans. The legislation would also strengthen labor laws and would open a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants — but it’s unclear if those provisions would be allowed in the bill under Senate rules. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated she will not bring the bipartisan bill to the House floor unless the reconciliation bill is also considered at the same time.