Free Lunch, Immigration, More Medicare: What’s In The Mix For Democrats’ ‘Go-Big’ Bill

Democrats are trying to jam in as many priorities as they can as they write the blueprint for their last shot at a partisan bill.

Top Democrats are finalizing the bones of a multitrillion-dollar partisan spending plan designed to ride alongside a bipartisan infrastructure deal — and attempting to squeeze as many priorities as they can into their GOP-free shopping cart.

Masterminded by Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the public blueprint is expected as early as this week, setting an ambitious spending ceiling for passing the dream policies that won’t make it in any bipartisan infrastructure package. Because Democrats only get one more crack this year at passing a bill that doesn’t require any support from Senate Republicans, every lawmaker in the majority party is lobbying to push their priorities into the final package passed using the filibuster protections of so-called budget reconciliation.

They’ll continue to scuffle over its exact contents in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, pieces of the plan will simultaneously die at the hands of the Senate parliamentarian, who is tasked with deciding what’s allowed under the advantageous — but limiting — reconciliation process.

“We’re gonna get yeses and nos. We know that,” said Senate Banking Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “The most important thing is we go big. The public wants us to go big. We make a difference for a generation on some of these issues.”

The core of the package is expected to deliver on the parts of Biden’s $1.8 trillion “families” plan and $2.3 trillion “jobs” proposal that don’t get included in the separate bipartisan deal, including the president’s pitch for universal prekindergarten, two years of free community college, extending the expanded child tax credit and creating a paid family and medical leave program. But a bevy of other liberal policy ambitions also stand a chance.

By Jennifer Scholtes, Alice Miranda Ollstein and Ryan Mccrimmon for POLITICO

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