Senate Democrats on Tuesday announced they struck a deal on a $3.5 trillion price tag for a Democrat-only infrastructure package that will expand Medicare and strengthen social safety net programs – and skirt Republicans staunchly opposed to more federal spending.
Combined with a $579 billion bipartisan infrastructure deal, the party-line agreement would amount to $4.1 trillion in fresh spending. It’s among the largest spending bills ever taken up by Congress.
“This is the most significant piece of legislation passed since the Great Depression, and I’m delighted to be part of having helped to put it together,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, told reporters on Tuesday evening.
The deal was negotiated among Senate Democrats over the past few weeks.
The agreement didn’t include many specifics on policies to be included. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it would expand Medicare to cover vision, dental, and hearing services. A past cost esti
Democrats leaving the negotiations were confident about the topline agreement, and they said they would turn the agreement into a legislative bill in the coming weeks.
“We are very proud of this plan. We know we have a long road to go,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters. Schumer also called the Medicare expansion included in the deal, “robust.”
A Senate Democratic aide granted anonymity to speak candidly said Democrats still recognize they face an arduous process ahead.
“We don’t know what’s happening what’s happening with bipartisan deal,” they said. “This is the first baby step.”
Budget Committee member Rep. Mark Warner said that the spending would be, “fully paid for.”
“What this legislation does it says we’re going to create millions of good paying union jobs,” Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders said after the session.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.
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