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Democrats' $3.5T budget plan includes major Medicare expansion
Spending in the trillions has been ‘normalized’: Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget president
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget President Maya MacGuineas discusses Biden’s spending packages and growing national debt.
Medicare, the health insurance program for older Americans, would cover dental, vision and hearing under a massive $3.5 trillion budget blueprint reached by Democrats this week that would vastly expand the government-funded social safety net.
The spending agreement – announced on Tuesday – would invest billions in an array of planned health, education, environment and social programs as Democrats seek to use their power monopoly in Washington to squeeze through a slate of left-wing priorities.
"Seniors should be able to grow old in the United States and be able to hear the world around them, clearly see their loved ones, and keep teeth in their mouths," Sen. Bernie Sanders, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said in a tweet. "That is not a radical statement. We must expand Medicare to cover hearing aids, vision, and dental care."
Still, the budget faces a long road to passage: Democrats need to secure lock-step support for the measure in order to use their slimmest-possible Senate majority to pass it using a procedural tool known as reconciliation, which allows them to bypass a 60-vote Republican filibuster.
Progressives such as Sanders had pushed for as much as $6 trillion in new spending, while moderate lawmakers have pushed for a smaller figure that won't add to the nation's already record-high deficit.
"We know we have a long road to go," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said this week. "If we pass this, this is the most profound change to help American families in generations."