Still, that leaves plenty of room for senators to propose amendments, including on things like extending expiring Trump-era tax cuts, so long as they don’t drop below $1 billion in finance committee deficit reduction. GOP senators could offer other amendments, including on energy policy, to try to put Democrats in a tough spot ahead of November’s midterm elections.
Alternatively, Democrats would have the option of trying to increase spending under the Finance jurisdiction. They could look to add a paid vacation program, expanded child tax credits, funding for home and community care under Medicaid or Medicare hearing benefits that were in earlier versions, as well as increases taxes to pay for everything.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as 11 other Senate panels received reconciliation instructions allowing them to add up to $1.75 trillion to deficits in the decade ending financial year 2031.
The health, education, labor and pensions panel can add up to $726.4 billion; Democrats on that panel released a version in December that would cost $474.6 billion, four-fifths of which was for a new universal child care and pre-kindergarten program.
Other panels have received more modest instructions, such as $25 billion to the Small Business Committee. That panel’s chairman, Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., has been pushing for months for financial relief for the restaurant industry, and reconciliation could be an attractive vehicle.