US House Passes Biden’s $1.75 Billion Build Back Better Bill
The US House of Representatives passed the $1.75 billion Build Back Better bill on Friday morning, sending Joe Biden’s ambitious social spending package to the Senate, where it faces a fate uncertain.
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has aimed to pass the bill – which would invest extensively in early childhood education, public health care for the elderly and measures to combat climate change – on Thursday night.
But Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, invoked his privilege as the House’s minority leader and began an hour-long speech to the vote. The entire Republican caucus is expected to vote against the social spending bill, arguing that the legislation will increase inflation at a time when more and more Americans are concerned about rising consumer prices. .
McCarthy finally wrapped up her record-breaking speech shortly after 5 a.m. Friday. Three hours later, the House of Representatives reconvened to pass the bill, largely along the lines of the party.
The Build Back Better vote comes a week after the House passed Biden’s $1.2 billion bipartisan infrastructure plan, with backing from 13 Republicans in the House. Biden signed the bill into law on Monday.
The White House has aimed to move the infrastructure bill and social spending bill through Congress at the same time. But the Build Back Better law has been in place for months amid Democratic infighting that has exposed rifts between progressives and moderates.
Some moderates withheld their support until the independent, nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a breakdown of the package’s costs.
The CBO estimates, released Thursday afternoon, say Build Back Better will “result in a net increase in deficits totaling $367 billion between 2022-31.” The CBO expects that separate White House proposals to strengthen the Internal Revenue Service’s tax enforcement will reduce the deficit by $127 billion over the same period.
However, the White House insists the bill has “been paid off more than it was due,” offering more positive projections suggesting that it would actually reduce the deficit by $112.5 billion.
The projections appear to assuage concerns among House moderators, including Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Stephanie Murphy of Florida, who have said they will vote on the bill. As of Friday morning, only one Democrat – Jared Golden of Maine – had said he would vote against the package to oppose the terms of tax cuts for wealthy Americans. The House version of Build Back Better reversed a Trump-era tax change that resulted in higher income taxes for homeowners in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey, and California.
The Build Back Better bill has now moved to the Senate, where lawmakers are expected to continue to debate the details of the package in an effort to secure the support of all 50 Democrats. in the Senate, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, has aimed for a final vote on the bill in the senate before Christmas.