House Democrats pushed through a $3.5 trillion budget resolution Tuesday after a group of moderates reached a deal promising them a vote by Sept. 27 on the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill.
The moderates had demanded a vote on the infrastructure measure before the House took up the budget resolution, which will clear the way for a spending and tax package to be released in September.
In the end, the moderates agreed to vote for the budget measure after a provision was added to the debate rule for the resolution calling for holding the infrastructure vote by Sept. 27. The House passed the budget measure on a party-line, 220-212 vote.
One of the moderates, Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., said ahead of the vote that he was satisfied with the deal.
“Nine of us wanted to have a separate guaranteed vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package that we think is the largest infrastructure investment we've seen in American decades, and very much needed for our communities, whether we're talking about broadband, whether we're talking about transportation, whether we're talking about water,” Costa told reporters.
But he suggested the moderates weren’t ready to support the full $3.5 trillion that progressives and President Joe Biden want included in the reconciliation package as part of his American Families Plan.
“We want to see it done in a common sense way that reflects the reality of what the Senate is willing to agree to and the House is willing to agree to,” Costa said.
The reconciliation package is supposed to include funding for extending an expanded child tax credit and providing new family leave, education and Medicare benefits. New clean energy incentives also will be a major part of the legislation as well as conservation spending aimed at helping farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have said they won’t support $3.5 trillion in new spending.
The budget resolution provides instructions to committees to draft provisions of the upcoming reconciliation bill, which will include $135 billion in spending for agriculture and child nutrition. Democratic leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture committees have already started work on the provisions.
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The House committee, which doesn’t have authority for child nutrition programs, will be dividing up $89.1 billion for conservation, forestry, research and other priorities. The Senate committee, whose authority does include child nutrition, was assigned $135 billion.
Farm groups also will be closely watching the revenue provisions Democrats will propose to pay for the reconciliation package. Biden has proposed taxing capital gains at death, which would nullify the benefits of the stepped-up basis to heirs.
The Agricultural Retailers Association issued a “call to action” urging lawmakers to preserve existing tax benefits for rural businesses, including stepped-up basis.
“Assets in agriculture are typically held by one owner for several decades, so resetting the basis on the value of the land, buildings, and livestock on the date of the owner’s death under a step-up in basis is important for surviving family members and business partners to ensure the future financial stability of the operation,” the group said.
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