Schumer says he has votes for moving $3.5 trillion package

While all 50 Democratic senators support beginning the process of passing the $3.5 trillion bill, the final price tag on the bill is not yet clear. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said Wednesday that while she will vote to move forward, she does not support legislation that costs $3.5 trillion, angering progressives in her party.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), another moderate Democrat, said last week that while he was committed to advancing the bill, he reserved the right to do “whatever the hell I want” on final passage.

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are already waging a messaging war against the social spending bill. While 17 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined all 50 Democrats in voting to consider the bipartisan legislation, Republicans are dubbing the second multitrillion-dollar package as a “reckless tax and spending” spree.

In his opening remarks Thursday, McConnell said that he was “happy” to forge ahead on the bipartisan physical infrastructure package. But he added that “the kind of focused compromise that our colleagues have been hashing out could not contrast more sharply” with the Democratic bill.

Democrats will use the so-called budget reconciliation process to pass the social spending package without GOP support. The legislation is expected to include top policy priorities for the party, ranging from climate change to child care to health care.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pledged that she will not move forward on the bipartisan bill until the Senate passes the second package.