SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The U.S. Senate moved closer to passing a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure package over the weekend, that would provide funding to improve roads, bridges, broadband internet access, drinking water, and more.
If they wrap up on that bill, they will then turn their attention to a much more partisan piece of legislation — the $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” bill. It provides financial assistance for child care support, home health care, paid family and medical leave, affordable housing, expanded Medicare, and reducing the cost of prescription drugs. The bill also addresses climate change, providing a pathway to citizenship, and more.
To cover the hefty cost of the bill, the proposal would raise taxes on corporations and high-income households that earn more than $400,000 a year. By holding the majority in the Senate this year, Democratic lawmakers plan to use a legislative process known as budget reconciliation to advance the ambitious agenda and pass the proposed budget along party lines.
However, a couple Democratic lawmakers have already expressed opposition to the bill, which would jeopardize the unanimous support needed for it to pass. They raised concerns about the package’s price tag, using budget reconciliation to remove the option for a filibuster, and the possibility of increasing the nation’s debt — all issues shared by Republican lawmakers.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for an IN FOCUS discussion about why he supports the human infrastructure bill and how it would bridge the gap between the wealthy and working class. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah talked about why he opposes the bill and his concerns about inflation.
Devin Wiser, executive director at the Olene Walker Institute at Weber State University and Prof. Mark Showalter, who teaches economics at Brigham Young University shared their analysis on the proposed package and the economic impact of spending bills.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Sen. Sanders, Sen. Lee, Wiser, and Prof. Showalter, click on the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.