Thursday, August 12, 2021

Senate Democrats Pass $3.5 Trillion Social Spending Legislative Boondoggle

I could go for a lot in the package, as being neoconservative, I support a robust social safety net, but the traditional conservative in me is disgusted by all the poison-pill elements of the legislation, which covers every from carbon taxes, climate change efforts, added powers for the I.R.S., and especially the legalization of millions of illegal immigrants.

It's actually a shocking bill.

At LAT, "Senate approves Democrats’ $3.5-trillion budget blueprint in another win for Biden":

WASHINGTON — Democrats pushed a $3.5-trillion framework for bolstering family services and health and environmental programs through the Senate early Wednesday, advancing President Biden’s expansive vision for reshaping federal priorities just hours after handing him a triumph on a hefty infrastructure package.

Lawmakers approved Democrats’ budget resolution on a party-line 50-49 vote, a crucial step for a president and party set on training the government’s fiscal might at assisting families, creating jobs and fighting climate change. Higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations would pay for much of the plan.

Passage came despite an avalanche of Republican amendments intended to make their rivals pay a price in next year’s election for control of Congress.

House leaders announced that their chamber would return from summer recess in two weeks to vote on the fiscal blueprint, which would disburse the $3.5 trillion over the next decade. Final congressional approval, which appears certain, would protect a follow-up bill to enact the spending and tax changes from the threat of being killed by a Republican filibuster in the 50-50 Senate.

Even so, passing that follow-up legislation will be dicey: Democratic moderates who are wary of the massive $3.5-trillion price tag are sparring with progressives who demand aggressive action. The party controls the House with just four votes to spare, while the evenly divided Senate is under the party’s control only due to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote. Solid GOP opposition to the legislation seems guaranteed.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), once a maverick congressional progressive voice but now a national figure wielding legislative clout, said the measure would help children, families, elderly and working people — and more.

“It will also, I hope, restore the faith of the American people in the belief that we can have a government that works for all of us, and not just the few,” he said.

Republicans argued that Democrats’ proposals would waste money, raise economy-wounding taxes, fuel inflation and codify far-left dictates that would harm Americans. They were happy to use Sanders, a self-avowed democratic socialist, to try to tar all Democrats backing the measure.

If Biden and Senate Democrats want to “outsource domestic policy to Chairman Sanders” with a “historically reckless taxing and spending spree,” Republicans lack the votes to stop them, conceded Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “But we will debate. We will vote.”

The Senate turned to the budget minutes after it approved Biden’s other major objective: a compromise bundle of transportation, water, broadband and other infrastructure projects costing about $1 trillion in new and old spending. That measure passed 69 to 30, with McConnell among the 19 Republicans backing it. It will need House approval next.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) assured progressives that Congress would pursue sweeping initiatives that go beyond the infrastructure compromise, in a nod to divisions between the party’s moderates and liberals that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) need to resolve before Congress can approve Democrats’ fiscal goals.

“To my colleagues who are concerned that this does not do enough on climate, for families, and making corporations and the rich pay their fair share: We are moving on to a second track, which will make a generational transformation in these areas,” Schumer said.

In a budget ritual, senators plunged into a “vote-a-rama,” a nonstop parade of messaging amendments that often becomes an all-night ordeal. This time, the Senate held over 40 votes before approving the measure around 4 a.m. Eastern time, more than 14 hours after the procedural marathon began.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) missed the budget votes to be with his ailing wife.

With the budget resolution largely advisory, most amendments were offered not in hopes of passing but to force the other party’s vulnerable senators to cast troublesome votes that can be used against them in next year’s midterm election.

Republicans crowed after Democrats opposed GOP amendments calling for the full-time reopening of pandemic-shuttered schools, boosting the Pentagon’s budget and retaining limits on federal income tax deductions for state and local levies. Those deduction caps are opposed by lawmakers from upper-income, mostly Democratic states...

Still more.