Nothing less than Joe Biden’s legacy as president of the United States is riding on the success of the budget reconciliation plans Democrats unveiled Monday.
The outline includes policies affecting much of the economy and could have a big impact on American life — so long as Senate Democrats can pass the resolution this week, after the Senate finishes its bipartisan infrastructure bill, and then follow it up later this fall with legislation that appeases both moderates and progressives.
Here are some of the most notable elements of the $3.5 trillion framework. The actual budget resolution gives committees budget targets but leaves it to them to sort out the details in a later reconciliation bill.
Democrats intend to continue the new monthly benefits for parents that they launched as part of the American Rescue Plan. Nearly every family in America started receiving $300 per child under 6 and $250 per kid age 6-17 last month, but the benefits won’t continue past this year.
Democrats still have to sort out how many additional years of benefits to include in the bill. Since it costs $100 billion per year or more, even extending the payments through 2025, as Democrats have previously suggested they’d do, eats up a significant amount of the $3.5 trillion of spending room Democrats plan to allocate themselves.
But there’s not much question the monthly checks will make life easier for parents and put a sizable dent in child poverty. Democrats aren’t shying away from big historical comparisons.
“Before President Roosevelt created Social Security in the 1930s, half of American seniors lived in poverty,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chair of the Senate Finance Committee and a key architect of the coming legislation. “This new monthly child benefit is Social Security for our children, and represents a fundamental reordering in the commitments this country makes to its children and their families.”