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Kelsey Snell

Congressional Democrats are further expanding the definition of infrastructure with a plan to provide paid leave and family benefits for the vast majority of Americans.

Updated April 22, 2021 at 2:05 PM ET

Senate Republicans have released a $568 billion infrastructure proposal to counter the more than $2 trillion package unveiled by President Biden early this month.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., are introducing legislation Wednesday that would make higher education free for most Americans by imposing new taxes on many Wall Street transactions.

After years of avoiding words such as redistribution and labels such as socialist, the core of the Democratic Party is embracing big government.

The coronavirus pandemic, a changing party makeup and a softening approach to debt and deficit have combined to give Democrats the space to embrace expensive policies and federal government expansion that would have been unheard of a few years ago. President Biden is leading the charge, and many Democrats, not just progressives, are eagerly jumping on board.

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For years now, mainstream Democrats have avoided labels like socialist or words like redistribution, but some are now embracing a new era of big government. Here's NPR's Kelsey Snell.

A new decision from the U.S. Senate's nonpartisan parliamentarian means Democrats could advance more of President Biden's agenda without the support of Republicans.

Democrats working to dismantle the filibuster as a major impediment to their legislative agenda say the procedural maneuver is a threat to civil rights.

They are working to reframe the push to abolish the 60-vote procedural hurdle as a fight to protect those rights and follow through on promises Democrats made to voters — particularly Black voters — who helped deliver them the White House and control of the Senate.

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Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is turning the committee best known for writing budgets that never become law into a vetting ground for progressive policy.

Sanders views his new jurisdiction as a broad mandate that "essentially in one way or another, touches the lives of every American." In keeping with that vision, Sanders will introduce a pair of bills on Thursday to restore the corporate tax rate to 35% and add a new progressive tax on the estates of the wealthiest Americans.

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Senate Democrats are updating President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package to extend the current $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits through the end of September, adding an extra month of coverage for those who have lost jobs during the pandemic.

Senate Democrats are moving ahead with an updated version of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes several tweaks intended to satisfy some moderates ahead of an expected final vote in the coming days.

The Senate voted 51-50 along party lines to advance the bill on Thursday. Vice President Harris voted with all Democrats to break the tie and move ahead with the lengthy debate and amendment process.

Senate Democrats have reached an agreement with the White House to tighten the limits on who can receive the next round of stimulus checks as part of President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, according to several Democratic sources.

The change comes after demands from moderate Democrats to make sure the latest round of checks is targeted at lower-income families. The full amount of the checks remains unchanged at $1,400, but the amount would phase out quickly for higher earners.

One of the key aims of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill is to send money to people who were already at risk of falling behind on bills or slipping into poverty.

Democrats say the relief bill set to pass the House Friday includes several new programs intended to create a new social safety net that some in the party are comparing to a new, smaller version of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal.

Updated at 9:27 p.m. ET

Senate Democrats will not be forced to confront an internal political battle over increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 following a decision by the primary keeper of Senate rules.

The Senate parliamentarian ruled that a plan to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 does not fit the complicated rules that govern budget bills in the Senate. House Democrats included the measure in a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that is expected to be the first major legislative act for President Biden.

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The House Budget Committee is expected to pass the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, setting up a partisan vote in the full House later this week.

The House Budget Committee has approved legislation advancing President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, setting a path for intense debate in the Senate.

The legislation is set for a vote on the House floor at the end of the week. The Senate is then expected to take up the legislation and attempt to modify it to ensure it can pass procedural hurdles while still satisfying all 50 Senate Democrats.

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(SOUNDBITE OF HEARING)

PATRICK LEAHY: The question of whether it shall be an order to consider and debate under the rules of impeachment any motion to subpoena witnesses or document - the motion is agreed to by a vote of 55-45. Majority leader.

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House Democrats have concluded their arguments in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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The opening day of the Senate impeachment trial was like living through January 6 all over again. And that was the point. The Democrats, leading the push for a conviction, played a graphic video, scenes of the mob storming the U.S. Capitol building.

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