Schumer-Sanders budget proposal could unleash staggering debt, deficit growth
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Schumer-Sanders budget proposal could unleash staggering debt, deficit growth

The $3.5 trillion budget proposal backed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Bernie Sanders projects sizable increases in public debt and the federal deficit over the next decade, according to figures included in the bill.

The sweeping budget plan would fund many proposals favored by progressives, including large investments in clean energy, affordable housing, and education. Republicans are not expected to support the plan due to its price tag and concerns that it will exacerbate rising inflation, and the financial projections could rankle moderate Democrats, such as Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have expressed concern about the costs.

The proposal projects that the federal deficit will be roughly $1.3 trillion in fiscal year 2022. By fiscal year 2031, the annual deficit will rise to more than $1.8 trillion.

The budget also details “appropriate levels of public debt” over the next decade. The level would rise from roughly $30.8 trillion in public debt in fiscal year 2022 to more than $45 trillion by fiscal year 2031.


Proponents of the plan, including Sanders and President Biden, have argued that tax hikes for corporations and the richest Americans, as well as budget considerations baked into the proposal, will cover its costs.

“Importantly, given the unfairness of our current tax system, the reconciliation bill will be paid for by increased taxes on the very wealthiest people and largest corporations in this country,” Sanders wrote in an op-ed for Fox News. “Despite what critics are saying, no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in taxes.”

Democrats are aiming to pass their $3.5 trillion spending plan through a process known as budget reconciliation, which would allow passage by a simple majority vote rather than the 60-vote threshold required to break a Republican filibuster. Democrats hold a razor-thin majority in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaking vote.


Concerns about the plan’s price tag could derail the plan, with a single Democratic defection effectively scuttling the bill. 

Last month, Manchin indicated his belief that the federal government should not add to the deficit through passage of a Democrat-backed infrastructure package.

“I think everything should be paid for now,” Manchin said. “I think we’ve put enough free money out.”