Schumer Warns of Possible August Work on Budget, Infrastructure
(Bloomberg) -- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned senators Friday to be prepared to cut short their planned August recess as he seeks to pass both a bipartisan infrastructure package and a budget blueprint teeing up a larger Democrat-only tax and spending bill.
“Senators should be prepared for the possibility of working long nights, weekends, and remaining in Washington into the previously scheduled August state work period,” the New York Democrat said in a letter to senators outlining his July agenda.
The Senate currently plans to begin its monthlong recess on Aug. 9.
Schumer said committee staff members have been working during the two-week break straddling July 4 to turn the bipartisan infrastructure framework into legislative text. The Senate Budget Committee meantime has been working on a budget resolution, a vehicle that will include instructions for the reconciliation bill encompassing the tax and social spending that Democrats want to pass later this year.
Schumer said the reconciliation package will include at least three priorities -- climate change, health care and the “caring economy.”
With a 50-50 Senate, Democrats can’t afford a single defection or absence in their caucus on the budget blueprint. Some liberal senators are insisting on assurances that moderate members will agree to the bigger package before they sign on to back the $579 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Democrats have yet to agree on the scope of the bigger package. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders wants a $6 trillion total, while moderates like Joe Manchin of West Virginia have suggested a much smaller figure that wouldn’t add to the deficit.
Schumer said that other issues could also arise in the coming month -- a bipartisan group is trying to iron out a policing bill -- and that the Senate will continue to confirm nominees.
“As always, Senate Democrats stand ready to expeditiously fill any potential vacancies on the Supreme Court should they arise,” Schumer added. Some Democratic-aligned groups have hoped Justice Stephen Breyer, 82, would retire this year, so the Senate could push through a younger nominee to join the other two justices on the liberal wing of the court.
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