House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed a $3.5 trillion Senate spending proposal, urging fellow Democrats to support the plan even though it falls short of a higher price tag many liberals in her caucus are seeking.
“As I often say, a budget is a statement of values, and this budget will make bold, essential investments in our values as a nation,” the California Democrat said in a letter to party lawmakers Wednesday.
“This budget agreement is a victory for the American people, making historic, once-in-a-generation progress for families across the nation,” she said.
Pelosi’s endorsement is critical and will bolster the chances that her slim majority can pass the measure despite likely complaints from the progressive wing, who are already calculating that the price tag may have to go up.
Pelosi sent the letter as President Joe Biden urged Senate Democrats in a private Capitol meeting to accept both the $3.5 trillion budget plan and a narrower $1 trillion package that pays for traditional infrastructure projects.
The combined spending falls short of a $6 trillion proposal offered last month by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Pelosi, Sanders, and others on the Left are eager to sell the plan, however, because spending at a higher level is likely to be rejected by key Senate centrists who are needed to pass the bill.
It will be Pelosi’s job to win over the broad liberal faction.
The Senate’s $3.5 trillion budget proposal would provide money for universal day care, free community college, expanded Obamacare subsidies, and broader Medicare benefits, as well as significant spending on climate change mitigation provisions.
“The Senate budget will contain many of House Democrats’ top priorities, including transformative action on the investments needed to confront the climate crisis, to transform the care economy, and to expand access to healthcare with enhancements to ACA, Medicare, and closing the Medicaid coverage gap,” Pelosi wrote to fellow Democrats.
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