On Wednesday, the budget deal reached for the 2022 fiscal year formally began the process that could lead to the Democrats’ ambitious 3.5 trillion dollar human infrastructure becoming reality. The framework would expand medicare access, federal safety net programs, and seriously address climate change. In order for the deal to become reality, all 50 Democratic senators will need to be kept in line during Budget Reconciliation. I’m having anxiety just imagining Krysten Sinema, that putz, trying to emulate John McCain again but whatever. Let’s take a look at what we could see.
With regard to combatting climate change, the framework would attempt to create 80% clean electricity and 50% industry-wide carbon emissions by 2030. This will be supported by creating more tax incentives that move the industry standard to “clean” technologies and prioritize procurement of clean technologies in federal agencies. It will also fund initiatives like “climate-smart” agriculture and wildfire prevention.
Another key aspect of the infrastructure bill as addressing challenges that people face every day. The American Families Plan would create universal pre-K for 3 and 4-year old children, child care, and community college. It would also provide increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities through Pell grants, paid family and medical leave, affordable housing and nutrition assistance. Were this to go through, a massive burden would be taken off the shoulders of millions of Americans already brought to the breaking point during the Pandemic.
The package would also expand Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. It would add new vision, hearing, and dental plans and reduce prescription drug costs and expand Medicaid to parts of the country that have not yet done so.
Tax credits under the American Rescue Plan would be extended. As would earned income, and child and dependent care credits would be separate. The duration of each would be determined by congressional scoring. Taxes would not go up on any household making less than $400,000 a year instead increasing corporate, international, and taxes on the wealthy. Oh, and the IRS would finally start receiving funding so they can crack down on tax enforcement (preferably on the actual crooks).
All in all, it sounds like a pretty good deal. Some people are pouting about the size of it, but if Bernie seems to be happy with it, I take it as a good sign. Again, this is all dependent on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer being able to herd the cats that are the Democratic Caucus. Look for Sinema and Manchin to do lots of grandstanding, hopefully just for theater. This needs to go through. It sounds so simple but the implications are huge. Life-changing, even. And hey, if it’s a success, maybe we can go even further! Don’t mess it up, Chuck!
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