The development was announced by Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader of New York, and Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker of California. This happened as Biden administration officials and Democratic congressional leadership negotiated behind-the scenes for the massive package of tax and spending initiatives.
Democratic leaders and President Joe Biden wanted the measure to reach $3.5 trillion over ten years.
The party is divided on the final size and details. There has not been any public announcement that agreement has been reached on any of these crucial issues. Republicans strongly oppose the package. Democrats will only be able push it through Congress if they limit their defections in the House to three members and none of the Senate.
Schumer stated that the White House, Senate and House had reached an agreement on a framework to pay for any final negotiated agreements. He spoke at a news conference in which he was joined by Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary, and Pelosi.
It was unclear from Schumer's and Pelosi's statements whether the administration and congressional bargainers had actually decided to reduce their funding options or were just reworking a wide range of options that existed already. It was also unclear whether the "framework", which was an attempt to resolve the many disputes between progressives and rank-and-file party members that had slowed down work on the legislation was a step towards resolving those issues. There was no public indication of this.
Later, Schumer told reporters that Pelosi, Schumer and the heads of the Senate- and House-tax-writing committees had reached an agreement on options that could be used for financing the bill once lawmakers have decided on the overall cost.
He, Richard Neal, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Ron Wyden, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, each stated that the possibilities were largely derived from revenue proposals Wyden and Neal had approved. They didn't provide much detail.
Schumer stated, "It's not conclusory but it was a step in the right direction."
Other top Democrats revealed their ignorance about the "framework" announced by leaders, underscoring the many questions it raised.
When asked if he expects to share the revenue outline with him soon, Senator Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) replied, "If there's a framework, yes." Sanders had been involved in discussions on the fiscal plans of Democrats all year.
"We've seen this many times before, so there are many ways to raise money in a fair, progressive manner and at least three and a quarter trillion dollars. Sanders stated that if that's the case, then there is nothing new.
Leaders' comments were made as the House plans to start considering a $1 trillion separate package of infrastructure projects and roads on Monday. Pelosi agreed to this schedule in order to calm party moderates, who want the legislation passed but are hesitant about supporting the $3.5 trillion larger measure.
The smaller public works bill is being threatened by progressives. It is not clear whether Democrats will be able to push it through the House, which is divided. Democratic leaders are working to agree on the final version of the massive social and environment bill, which moderates would approve, in order to win over progressives.
This bill includes a lot of Biden's domestic agenda. It also includes a major overhaul of federal taxes to allow for what the president considers overdue investments to improve health care, family services, and combat climate change.
The legislation would tax corporations and wealthy Americans who earn more than $400,000 per year. It also would allow them to pay more into federal programs, including investments in climate change mitigation.
Pelosi stated, "What was said was that the House, Senate, and White House reached an agreement on how to move forward in a manner to pay for this."
Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, called the framework "a menu" and "a range of options", and claimed it was progress.
She said, "The next step is to have discussions with a variety of members about how we can move forward."
Moderate Democrats are most prominently Senators. Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Silena from Arizona have demanded that the price tag of $3.5 trillion be decreased.
Democrats propose that the measure be paid for mainly through tax increases on corporations and the wealthy. However, lawmakers disagree on the details of these levies and there are other issues regarding initiatives to improve health care and climate change.
Pelosi and Schumer spoke to reporters the day after Biden met over 20 Democrats to try and narrow their differences.
The Senate and the House remained in lockstep over a separate package that would keep the government funded beyond the Sept. 30, fiscal year-end, and suspend the federal debt limit in order to avoid a shutdown. This would also prevent a catastrophic U.S. default on payment payments. Senate Republicans refuse to support the House-passed bill.
The funding-and-debt bill was passed Tuesday night by the Democratic-led House. However, the Senate refused to support it, and Republicans have no plans to do so despite the possibility of triggering a fiscal crises.
Senator Republican leader Mitch McConnell said that since Democrats control Congress and the White House, it is their problem to find votes. However, he relied on bipartisan cooperation when approving debt limit measures under Republican rule.
However, Democrats in the 50-50 Senate will have a hard time finding 10 Republicans who can reach the 60 votes threshold to defeat a filibuster. There are other options available to try and pass the debt ceiling package.