June 22, 2021

The $6 trillion infrastructure plan being written by Senate and House Democrats goes beyond roads and bridges to include things like lowering the Medicare age to 60 and adding dental, vision and hearing benefits. Via AP:

The Senate is preparing a draft budget document, alongside one in the House, that puts a new focus on President Joe Biden’s big legislative proposal and shows the scope of what Democrats would hope to accomplish with a go-it-alone approach, separate from any possible bipartisan deal.

Back from his overseas trip, Biden is reengaging with Congress as the administration and its allies on Capitol Hill embark on a two-pronged strategy: reviewing a nearly $1 trillion plan from a group of 21 senators, including 11 Republicans, while pursuing their own priorities in a more substantial package.

Half of the total in the $6 trillion plan is expected to be paid for, largely with Biden’s proposed taxes on corporations and those earning more than $400,000. Details emerging Thursday were confirmed by aides who were not authorized to publicly discuss private deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity. Initial Senate votes are expected in July.

“We have an enormous amount of work in front of us,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said after making a closed-door presentation to colleagues late Wednesday.

Despite what Republicans say, these items have everything to do with jobs and infrastructure. As we saw in the 2008 recovery, it was extremely difficult for workers over 50 to regain employment, and many of them simply dropped out of the workplace.

So lowering the age to 60 for Medicare makes them more attractive hires. (Employers are reluctant to bring on new salaried employees over 50 or so because their healthcare costs are higher.) And it's a given that vision, dental and hearing aid benefits will make for a healthier workforce.

Biden wants some kind of bipartisan deal, but that is most likely to mean separate legislation that will include only the items Republicans support, and a massive reconciliation bill that will include the rest.

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