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The Wall Street Journal: Democrats debate cost of huge climate and antipoverty package

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats were locked in debate Monday over the price tag of a package including climate provisions, child care and other programs they plan to squeeze through the chamber later this year without any GOP support.

Back in Washington after a two-week recess, Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee are now trying to settle on the overall price tag of a colossal legislative package they hope to pass later this year through a special process tied to the budget, known as reconciliation. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who is expected to meet with the committee’s Democrats early this week, said he hopes to pass a budget resolution setting its parameters before the chamber departs for its August break.

“The discussions have been going almost around the clock,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., also a member of the Budget Committee, said in an interview Monday. When he was in Oregon over the break, with fires and intense heat sweeping the state, “everybody wants to know what’s going to be done about it,” he said. “There are a lot of issues to resolve.”

If Democrats can remain united, that would allow them to pass legislation with just a simple majority in the 50-50 Senate, rather than the 60-votes threshold most bills face. But more centrist and liberal Democrats are still divided over the size of the budget package, as well as how much of it should be paid for by other revenue, including tax increases.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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