Jose Luis Magana / AP
The House voted on partisan lines Friday morning to approve a $ 2 trillion social and climate spending package that ended months of squabbling among Democrats over the details of the far-reaching measure.
The vote was 220-213, with a Democrat, rep. Jared Golden of Maine, who joined all Republicans in opposition.
The legislation is intended to fulfill many of President Biden’s promises during the 2020 campaign, including plans to address climate change and provide a stronger federal safety net for families and low-income workers.
“We have the ‘Built Back Better’ bill, which is historic, transformative and bigger than anything we’ve ever done before, Parliament Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Said on the floor of Parliament.” If you are a parent, a senior, a child, a worker, if you’re an American … this bill is for you and it’s better. “
The House Democrats overcame internal divisions over the cost and scope of the spending package, but the fight will continue while the bill goes to the Senate for revisions.
The vote was delayed after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Spoke all night – for more than eight hours. His speech rejected the Democrats’ spending plans, but also addressed issues including China and border security.
“Never in American history has so much been used at once,” he said. “Never in American history will so many taxes be raised, and so many loans are needed to pay for all this reckless consumption.”
Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Images
What’s in the goal
The legislation includes:
- $ 550 billion to tackle climate change through incentives and tax cuts;
- funding to extend the extended monthly child tax deduction for one year;
- housing assistance, including $ 150 billion in affordable housing;
- extensions to Medicaid and additional assistance to reduce the cost of health premiums for plans purchased under the Affordable Care Act;
- four weeks of paid family and sick leave;
- funding for universal pre-K for about 6 million 3- and 4-year-olds;
- a provision enabling Medicare Parts B and D to negotiate prices directly with drug manufacturers on certain drugs and limit seniors’ spending to $ 2,000 per year;
- a ceiling of $ 35 for monthly insulin expenses.
Expenditure is mostly offset by taxes on the wealthy and businesses, including:
- an additional tax of 5% on taxpayers with personal income over $ 10 million and an additional 3% added on income over $ 25 million;
- a minimum tax of 15% on corporate profits from large companies reporting over 1 billion. USD in profit;
- a tax of 1% on share buybacks;
- a minimum tax of 50% on foreign profits from US companies.
House Democrats unite after months of fighting
Moderate Democrats ultimately voted in favor of the legislation after concerns that estimates from the non-partisan congressional budget office would show that the measure is more expensive than leaders have expected.
Ultimately, the CBO found the bill would cost the federal government $ 367 billion over the next decade, “not including any additional revenue that could be generated by additional funding for tax enforcement.” Many Democrats, including the White House, argues that when taken into account, the measure would pay for itself.
Members of the fiscally moderate New Democrat Coalition approved the legislation ahead of the final cost estimates. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., Said the official estimates do not take into account additional revenue from increased tax enforcement – or the broader economic benefits of the legislation.
“When we discuss the importance of the bill, we also need to talk about the costs that would be incurred if we did not adopt this bill,” Schneider said in an interview with reporters. “The cost of inaction is simply too high, and it can only be averted if we act now.”
For progressive Democrats, the vote fulfills a promise from Biden and House leaders not to neglect policies that have given energy to the left wing of their party. Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus set major demands aside throughout the negotiations, including several expenditures and plans for aggressive changes to the country’s health system, to reach an agreement that satisfied the full caucus.
Senate obstacles can drag on for weeks
The vote in Parliament is just the latest step in a lengthy process that will almost certainly involve further amendments to the bill.
Centrist Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., And Joe Manchin, DW.Va., have each expressed concern over the House’s version of the legislation. Manchin is particularly opposed to a provision that would provide four weeks of paid family and sick leave for most workers. Sinema’s objections are less clear, but Democrats need both legislators on board for the legislation to be passed.
It is unclear how long it will take for senators to find out their disagreements and finalize the legislation. Once that work is done, the Senate will have to start a lengthy process of voting on the bill using the budget voting process that would allow the bill to be passed in the Senate by 50 votes instead of the 60 votes needed for it. most of the legislation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that Senate staff have already taken the necessary steps to ensure legislation meets the basic requirements to avoid a Republican filibuster. But the process still has several steps, including a series of unlimited change votes known as a voice-a-rama.