Senate passes framework of $3.5T budget reconciliation package in party-line vote

The vote was the initial step in the budget reconciliation process

The Senate voted early Wednesday to pass the framework of the hotly contested, $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package after a nearly 15-hour-long vote-a-rama in Washington, D.C., and if there was any camaraderie on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, it seemed to have taken a holiday after this vote.

The vote was procedural and the initial step in the budget reconciliation process that could eventually allow Democrats to pass the package without a single Republican vote. The vote on Wednesday was 50-49, and straight down party lines.


Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said the resolution paves the way "for legislation that would redefine the very role of the federal government in the lives of average Americans, all under a 50-50 Senate, a razor-thin majority in the House, and a President who was elected on moderation."

"After Democrats shamelessly used COVID as an excuse to pass a partisan $2 trillion liberal wish-list in March, Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders has brought the rest of his party along for another $3.5 trillion that seeks to increase dependency of the middle class on the federal government, re-engineer the economy to benefit liberal interest groups, and provide tax breaks to the ultra-wealthy in Democrat-run states," Toomey said in a statement. 


Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praised the vote and said the budget will "bring a generational transformation on how our economy works for average Americans."

"It'll cut taxes for American families, it'll lower costs for everyone," the Senate majority leader said. "It'll create good paying jobs while tackling climate change. And it will be paid for by making our tax code more progressive and more fair, asking corporations in the wealthy to pay their fair share."

The framework is 92 pages and opens the door to climate and social initiatives and expanded Medicare. Politico reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who was sidelined by COVID-19 and recovered, returned to the floor to say the package is "a dream for those who want to socialize" the U.S. and that "America as we know it is at risk in this budget resolution."