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US Senate plans to vote on safety net legislation before Christmas

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday presented a tight schedule for his fellow Democrats to vote and approve a roughly $ 2 trillion package to overhaul US health, education, climate laws , immigration and taxation before Christmas.

The House of Representatives has already narrowly approved a version of the measure, but Senate Democrats plan to make some changes. If they come to a deal, then Democrats will need all of their 50 votes in the 100-member chamber, plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ decisive vote, to pass the legislation because the 50-member Republican caucus uniformly opposes it.

If the package, proposed by President Joe Biden as his Build Back Better plan, allows the Senate to make any changes, the House will have to vote on it again before sending it to Biden for signature.

Schumer warned fellow Democrats that in order for the measure to be approved by the Senate before the Christmas recess of December 25, along with other must-have laws, they will have to work “longer days and nights and potentially weekends.” .

If approved, the $ 2 trillion proposal would dramatically increase the role of the national government in the lives of Americans, perhaps the most in five decades.

The measure would expand health insurance benefits for older Americans, add money to fight climate change, establish universal preschool education, and provide new support for low-income families, all funded by higher taxes for wealthy Americans and businesses.

But two centrist Democratic lawmakers, Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, opposed some of the provisions passed by the House, forcing Democratic leaders to engage in protracted negotiations with them to secure a deal.

Manchin said the additional government spending could increase costs for consumers, fueling the biggest increase in U.S. inflation in three decades. Biden asserted that with the additional tax revenue and more stringent tax collection measures to catch tax evaders, the measure will be fully paid.

USA voanews

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