If you had two weeks to decide how to spend $3.5 trillion, what would you do? That is the question lawmakers face as the U.S. House marches toward a self-imposed September 15 deadline to allocate a massive amount of spending to programs and projects across the country. Within this two-week time frame, tax writers must also decide on whom to raise those taxes and by how much.
Lacking the support of Republicans, and some in their own party, House Democrats are moving forward with a $3.5 trillion bill under a process known as budget reconciliation that only requires 50 Senate votes instead of the usual 60. Their goal for the bill is to provide additional resources and benefits to individuals, improve the social safety net and address climate change, among other Democratic party priorities.
The U.S. House committee meetings to put the pieces together run from September 2 through September 15, when the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to hold its final meeting to decide how to pay for some or all of the $3.5 trillion. Some of us will spend more than two weeks deciding on a $35,000 car. Our lawmakers in Washington have given themselves just that, 14 days, to decide on how to spend $3.5 trillion. That comes out to $250 billion per day. Even using a politician’s math, that’s real money.