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House Panel Approves $25 Billion in Small-Business Aid

The U.S. Congress ramped up its work on President Joe Biden’s economic agenda on Thursday with House committee votes on core pieces of a planned $3.5 trillion tax-and-social-spending budget bill.

The key House Ways and Means Committee is at the center of Thursday’s action, debating measures including an expansion of Medicare and paid family leave, new funds for elder-care workers and a provision bolstering retirement savings. Behind the scenes, panel members will be seeking agreement on other elements, including the tax increases to be unveiled in coming days.

In the Senate, meantime, Democratic lawmakers have to hammer out a deal on the overall cost of the legislation. Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders paints the current price tag as a compromise relative to his initial $6 trillion, while moderates led by West Virginia’s Joe Manchin want a bill notably smaller than $3.5 trillion. Republicans have vowed to oppose the bill, requiring unity in the Democratic caucus.

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