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Kelsey Snell

Kelsey Snell is a Congressional correspondent for NPR. She has covered Congress since 2010 for outlets including The Washington Post, Politico and National Journal. She has covered elections and Congress with a reporting specialty in budget, tax and economic policy. She has a graduate degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and an undergraduate degree in political science from DePaul University in Chicago.

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.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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.

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.

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.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

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