Democratic Agenda Begins to Emerge in Budget Plan

July 27, 2018

A sweeping budget plan by the Congressional Progressive Caucus provides an insight into the policies liberal Democrats are developing in anticipation of potential electoral victories this November and in the 2020 elections.

Areas of interest include:

  • Health Care: States would be allowed to transition to a single-payer health care system. Medicare spending on prescription drugs would be reduced by nearly $500 billion over a decade by allowing the program to negotiate prices with providers.

  • Education: One trillion dollars would be set aside for universal child care and early learning programs.  $450 billion would be spent to allow college students to refinance their loans at lower rates.  Further, the federal government would subsidize community college fees for all families and, for families earning up to $125,000 per year, tuition and fees for other colleges.

  • Infrastructure: Two trillion dollars would be devoted to rebuilding water, transportation, and energy systems.

  • Immigration: “Comprehensive immigration reform,” would include new pathways to citizenship and "clearing family- and employment-based immigration backlogs."

How it would be funded: Among many other new taxes, the bill would impose a tax on financial transactions, including stock, bond, and derivative trades—enough to net $1.8 trillion over ten years, according to the bill’s authors.  Further, the top marginal rate on millionaire households would be increased to 45 percent, rising to 49 percent for households with over $1 billion in annual income, and capital gains would be treated as ordinary income for tax purposes.

Impact TBD: If the Democrats capture at least one house, expect hearings on at least some of these concepts.  Meanwhile, Democrat candidates from the Democratic Socialist wing, who have scored some notable victories in the primaries, will press for even greater changes in these areas, such as a single payer health care system.