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Big Tab: Democrat-led Senate OKs more than $4 trillion of spending in less than 24 hours

The Senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which includes $517 billion in new spending, as well as a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation proposal

Updated: August 11, 2021 - 8:36pm

The Democratic-led Senate voted to authorize more than $4 trillion of federal spending in less than 24 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday morning. 

The Senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which includes $517 billion in new spending and a reauthorization of funding from the highway bill, at 11:17am on Tuesday. 

The Senate moved to debate on the Democrats' filibuster-proof $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation proposal. The framework for the plan authorizing that level of federal spending passed in a 50-49 vote early Wednesday morning at 3:50am. 

The reconciliation bill includes new spending programs related to tuition free community college, universal pre-K, support for child care and Medicaid expansion. It contains tax increases such as a corporate tax rate hike to pay for part of the bill. Once the proposal is turned into formal legislative language, it will be put up for a final vote on the Senate floor. It can pass with every Democratic senators' vote plus Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote. 

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Democrats' budget reconciliation plan will ultimately cost more than Congress has estimated.

CRFB estimates that the reconciliation proposal would result in roughly $1.75 trillion of borrowing.

“It allows them to borrow $1.75 trillion,” said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president and senior policy director at CRFB. “They plan to spend $3.5 trillion with that authority but they could spend a lot more if they wanted.”

According to Congressional Budget Office figures, the separate bipartisan infrastructure plan will add over $340 billion to the deficit and cost $400 billion over 10 years. According to CRFB, Biden's agenda will cost taxpayers almost $3 trillion over the next decade.

In FY2020, the deficit hit a record $3.1 trillion. So far into FY2021, the deficit is at $2.2 trillion. The national debt is approaching $29 trillion for the first time in U.S. history. 

The Senate votes come as inflation hit the highest level since 2008 at 5.4%. 

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