Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Senate Budget Committee Democrats Reaching An Agreement On A Landmark Budget Resolution That Will Pave The Way To Act On Climate And Provide The Most Significant Support For American Families Since The New DealJuly 14, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding Senate Budget Committee Democrats reaching an agreement on a landmark $3.5 trillion budget resolution that will pave the way for legislation to build back and secure our middle class with historic support, bolster our economy, act on climate, expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision in a robust way, and lay the foundation for another century of American prosperity. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Late last night, after a several-hour meeting of the Budget Committee where people spoke their minds and we came together, the Senate Democratic majority on the Budget Committee reached a landmark agreement on a $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which will pave the way for historic legislation later this year called the American Jobs and Families Plan.
Very simply: this budget resolution will allow us to pass the most significant legislation to expand support and help American families since the New Deal.
Since the New Deal.
This is generational, transformational change to help American families who need the help in this rapidly changing world.
Every major program that President Biden has asked for is funded in a robust way. The President will be attending the Democratic caucus lunch later today to talk about not only the agreement but the next steps along the way.
When you consider the American Jobs and Families plan in conjunction with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which is close to $600 billion, you get $4.1 trillion, which is very, very close to the total amount that President Biden has asked Congress to invest. Both traditional infrastructure like roads and bridges, and social infrastructure—we mean by that things that help people and families directly, such as health care, family leave, and education—will receive the kind of support that the American people so need and are asking for.
We are very proud of this plan.
Now, we know the road ahead is going to be long and there are bumps along the way. This is only the first step in the long road we will have to travel and must travel. But we are going to get this done because we so fervently believe that we must make average Americans’ lives a whole lot better.
We want middle-class people to be able to stay in the middle class and breathe easier in the middle class. We want poor people to be able to climb that ladder to get to the middle class. And nothing—nothing—that has been put on the floor of this Senate will do that better than this bill. Nothing that has been put on the floor of the Senate for the last several decades will do that the way this bill will.
It is transformational, and frankly it is exciting.
The eventual legislation we’re talking about is best understood in three buckets: jobs, families, and climate.
Instead of giving a giant tax break to large corporations and the wealthy—as our Republican colleagues did when they were in the majority—we are going to strengthen the backbone of the middle class by making critical investments in infrastructure, creating thousands upon thousands upon thousands of good-paying jobs in the process, with apprenticeships and training so that people who never had opportunities to have these jobs can get them, and then lead good lives for decades later.
The resolution will make sure there are no tax increases for families under $400,000 and no tax increases for small business.
This is about rebuilding the middle class and creating jobs.
And we will change our tax policy far different than how our Republican friends did. The very wealthy, the people at the top who escape paying all or a lot of taxes—no, no, no, they’re going to pay their fair share for the first time in a long time. So different from what our Republican colleagues did: their bill gave the top 1% a huge percentage—some estimate as high as 83%—of the breaks. We’re going to give it to the middle class, to the working people.
For American families, we will introduce paid family leave, as well as one important addition to President Biden’s proposal, which is a robust expansion of Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing. This is something that Budget Chairman Sanders has championed and alerted not just this chamber, but the nation to its need. We’re going to get it done.
And on climate, we must act on climate. We’ve seen what’s going on just in the last month. We’re going to invest in green infrastructure, strong, bold green infrastructure: electric vehicles, clean and renewable power, resiliency projects, housing, and more—that will not only help our country adapt to a changing climate but slow climate change itself.
On top of President Biden’s plans, Democrats will add other policies to significantly deal with climate, such as reducing methane emissions, one of the most potent and deadly of the greenhouse gases.
Jobs, families, climate: these are the three buckets that Democrats will be working on. Again, let me repeat, there is a long road ahead of us. But the fact that we were able to come together last night with the diverse views on the Budget Committee was a strong shot out of the gate.
Now, I am sure that my friends on the other side of the aisle are going to pan this and say one thing or another. We can predict they’ll label anything where we reach out to help American families. They don’t want to do that. They just want to help those wealthy people. They don’t want their taxes to rise. They don’t want the government to help people. So they’re going to criticize it and use their usual name-calling. That’s what they have been doing for years no matter what legislation there is.
I’m quite sure they will raise phony concerns about the debt and deficit. Hello, my colleagues! You raised the deficit by $2 trillion so you could give tax cuts mainly to wealthy people and big corporations. And now you’re going to complain when we want to help middle class families, poor families, that there’s a deficit? Give us—and give the American people—a break. It’s hypocrisy.
The American people won’t buy their criticisms. Creating jobs, providing family leave, making education, housing, and health care more affordable, fighting climate change—no one seriously believes that these policies are the policies on the road to what they might call socialism.
These are what American people want. Paid family leave? Helping people go to college? Come on. That’s part of our democratic tradition where we build ladders up. And I mean small d, American tradition, where we build ladders up to help people climb up and live a good life.
So, the goals we must pursue are goals to build back our middle class, secure our middle class, help more people get to the middle class, to bolster our economy, and lay the foundation for another century of American prosperity, just as Franklin Roosevelt did close to a hundred years ago.
And that’s exactly what the Democratic majority is going to do.