In a race against the clock, Democratic leaders in Congress are working frenetically to craft a multitrillion-dollar bill to expand the social safety net with plans to hit the gas and start moving it through the House this week.
The House Ways and Means Committee released hundreds of pages of legislative text Tuesday and announced hearings on Thursday and Friday. The bill would include 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for all workers; expanded Medicare benefits to add dental, hearing and vision coverage; and new investments to bolster nursing homes and long-term care, among other provisions.
Behind the scenes, Democratic leaders are engaging in a flurry of negotiations with lawmakers and committees in both chambers to write policies that can unify the party, with the White House swooping in at times to resolve disagreements, two sources familiar with the emerging bill said.
“We’re at a place where the rubber is hitting the road in terms of shaping the policy and fine-tuning everything and really racing toward those deadlines,” said a senior Democratic aide, adding that the Senate hopes to vote on the bill by Sept. 27. “We’re obviously setting an ambitious timeline, but we’re moving forward to meet it.”