Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer D-N.Y., speaks at a news conference with Democratic leadership following the weekly Democratic caucus luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo
July 14 (UPI) -- Senate Democrats late Tuesday announced they had reached an agreement on a $3.5 trillion budget deal that includes funding to expand Medicare and to tackle the climate crisis.
The bill is on top of President Joe Biden's bipartisan $600 billion infrastructure bill and together is close to what he had requested to cover his $4 trillion economic plan.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters during a press conference that Biden will join them for the Democrats' Wednesday luncheon to lead them toward enacting "this wonderful plan."
"We are very proud of this plan," Schumer said. "We know we have a long road to go. We're going to get this done for the sake of making average Americans' lives a whole lot better."
It is unclear exactly what is included in the agreement, but Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., hinted that it will include tax increases on the nation's richest people and corporations.
"This is, in our view, a pivotal moment in American history," Sanders, the budget committee chairman, said. "The wealthy and large corporations are going to start paying their fair share of taxes, so that we can protect the working families of this country."
The Democrats also said it will see a robust expansion of Medicare to include funds for dental, vision and hearing. Funds have also seemingly been allocated to revamp the nation's aging energy system to transition off fossil fuels, as well as funds for education, family programs, climate change and other such priorities of the Biden administration.
"There are times to do really big things. This is one of those times," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said.
Warner, a moderate among the Democratic caucus, added that the plan is fully paid for, though he did not offer specifics.
"I have been in this job for now, about 12 years. I can't think of a more meaningful effort than what we're taking on, than what we're doing right now, probably more meaningful than anything I have done in my public service record," he said.
For the bill to pass, the Democrats will need the support of their entire party in the divided Senate.
Schumer told reporters earlier Tuesday that they must have unity behind the bill "if we're going to help the American people with the boldest, biggest legislation in a very, very long time that helps the middle class."