WASHINGTON – The House Democrats approved their comprehensive law on social spending and climate on Friday and took a major step toward adopting the second half of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda after signing the Infrastructure Bill earlier this week.
The vote on the Build Back Better Act took place on a party line, with all Republicans against. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where charges are expected to get all 50 Democrats on board and avoid a filibuster.
The Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan scorekeeper, estimates the bill will add $ 367 billion to the 10-year deficit, although it does not account for $ 207 billion in expected revenue from provisions of the bill that strengthen IRS enforcement to improve compliance with existing tax laws. Once those measures are included, the CBO said the bill would add $ 160 billion to the 10-year deficit.
The White House estimated that enhanced IRS enforcement would generate as much as $ 400 billion in revenue, and insisted it would offset all the costs of the bill.
Republicans focused most of their criticism on the overall cost of the bill despite pushing through more than $ 2 trillion in deficit-financed tax cuts in 2017, saying more spending would exacerbate rising prices, which has created a crater in consumer sentiment in recent weeks, even amid falling unemployment and rising wages. And they pointed out that the Democrats made most of the programs in the bill temporary as a budget gimmick.
“We do not have trillions of dollars to spend on programs that will never go away,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) Said during an eight-hour speech beginning Thursday night, delaying the passage of the bill until early Friday. . “The American people understand what these out of control expenses will do because they felt it from the very first law you passed. You created inflation.”
While Republicans pointed to the CBO result as a reason to oppose the bill, Democratic moderates who protested the passage of the bill earlier this month due to lack of fiscal information voted with their colleagues in favor of approving the measure. .
The nearly $ 2 trillion in spending over 10 years aims to cut spending on health care, child care and other measures, including another year of monthly payments to parents, universal pre-kindergarten and prescription drugs. The bulk of the bill is dedicated to addressing the growing threat of climate change, with several provisions aimed at increasing renewable energy.
“Build Back Better is a spectacular agenda for the future with transformative actions in health care, family care and climate that will make a significant difference in the lives of millions of Americans, and it is possible because of the president’s leadership.” It said the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), In a letter to her Democratic colleagues ahead of the vote.
Some of the tax provisions of the bill remain unresolved despite the vote in Parliament. The House bill would raise the limit on federal deductions for state and local tax payments, a provision that would overwhelmingly favor wealthy homeowners with high property taxes. The change had been demanded by a handful of Democrats from high-tax states like New Jersey, New York and California.
Republicans paralyzed the so-called SALT giveaway ahead of the vote. “It’s true, the biggest tax cuts go to the multimillionaires,” the rep said. Steve Scalise (R-La.).
Only on the Democrat voted rep. Jared Golden from Maine against the bill due to the SALT provision.
The House progressive also does not like the millionaire tax cut, but said the final version of the legislation would include a Senate version of the SALT provision that would prevent households with incomes above a certain threshold from taking the deduction.
The expense side of the bill is also not final yet. Late. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), for example, has still not committed to voting for legislation that costs more than $ 1.5 trillion over 10 years. Manchin is concerned about further federal spending on inflation, which is rising and contributing to higher consumer prices.
The coal state senator is also reportedly opposed to a proposed fee for methane emissions as well as other climate measures in the bill.
The Senate is expected to take up the bill next month after a week-long Thanksgiving holiday. Whatever version of the bill it passes – if the Democrats are actually able to unite around one – Parliament must approve it once again before sending it to Biden’s desk.