WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats approved a massive $3.5 trillion budget resolution early Wednesday morning after a marathon vote-a-rama, setting the stage to pass a sweeping economic package without the threat of a filibuster from Republicans.
The final vote was 50-49 after an all-night “voter-a-rama” that began Tuesday afternoon and ended just after 4 a.m. ET Wednesday morning. The result is Democrats will now use a process known as budget reconciliation to pass legislation on a party-line vote on key issues such as health care, aid for families, and the climate crisis.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer knows he cannot afford to lose a single vote in the Senate and will now begin crafting the legislative package to ensure it gets the support of every Democrat in the Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris can break the tie.
However, it seems there will be key issues ahead.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is a moderate Democrat and has previously said she will not support the bill because of its $3.5 trillion price tag. She did say she is willing to negotiate on the issue. Republicans have long been opposed to the bill, saying the Democrats are using it as a way to spend money on liberal priorities.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.,) said the deal would help children, families, the elderly, and working people.
“It will also, I hope, restore the faith of the American people in the belief that we can have a government that works for all of us, and not just the few,” he said.
The late-night resolution marks another win for Biden, who is making his domestic agenda a major part of his presidency.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) conceded Republicans lack the votes to stop Biden and the Democrats but promised, “But we will debate. We will vote.”
The news comes after the Senate passed a massive $1 trillion infrastructure package on Tuesday, sending the bill to the House of Representatives, where it faces some challenges.
Schumer assured progressive Democrats that Congress will pursue sweeping action on priorities that go beyond infrastructure, a nod to the division between moderates and liberals.
“To my colleagues who are concerned that this does not do enough on climate, for families, and making corporations and the rich pay their fair share: We are moving on to a second track, which will make a generational transformation in these areas,” Schumer said.
This story has been updated with more information.