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The US House of Representatives has approved the framework for Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion domestic spending package after Democrats reached a deal to move the package forward after days of tense talks within the president’s party.
The 220-212 vote on the so-called budget resolution marks a critical step toward setting the president’s economic agenda, which calls for massive investment in the U.S. social safety net, including education, childcare and green energy.
The framework will allow House lawmakers to move forward with a more detailed version of the legislation later in the year.
A group of moderate Democrats, led by New Jersey’s Josh Gottheimer, had threatened to hold up the package without firm guarantees that a separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package would be approved soon.
After days of negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an agreement was reached that will allow the $3.5 trillion spending plan to go ahead, with the infrastructure bill to be considered at the end of September.
The House’s approval of the $3.5 trillion fiscal framework represents another milestone in the slow but steady advance of Biden’s ambitious first-term economic agenda. In March, he signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package into law that included direct payments to millions of households, an expansion of unemployment benefits and aid to state and local governments.
Biden has also vowed to renew the economy more broadly with trillions-dollar investments to remedy long-standing structural flaws and smooth out the recovery from the pandemic.
While some Republicans have supported Biden’s $1 trillion plans for investment in physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges, they oppose the rest of his economic agenda, requiring Democrats to approve the $3.5 trillion package with their extremely small majorities in power. the Congres.
This has effectively given veto powers to the plan to every faction of the Democratic party, leading to growing quarrels within the party over the legislation that party leaders and White House officials have been trying to patch up.
Biden praised the House vote on Tuesday afternoon at the start of his remarks about the crisis in Afghanistan. He said lawmakers have taken a “major step toward historic investment” that will “transform America, cut taxes on working families and position the U.S. economy for long-term growth.”