Comprehensive economic legislation is a central pillar of Biden’s domestic agenda. It would deliver on long-standing democratic priorities by dramatically expanding social services for Americans, working to mitigate the climate crisis, increasing access to health care, and providing assistance to families and children.
Democrats face a major challenge now that the bill has been approved by Parliament and must be taken up by the Senate, an effort that will put the party’s unity to the ultimate test.
Senate Democrats have no margin of error to approve the legislation, and key lawmakers – most prominent moderate West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin – have expressed concern over elements of the plan while political struggles loom on the horizon.
What’s in the bill?
The plan to expand the social safety net, known as the Build Back Better Act, represents a central part of Biden’s political agenda and an attempt by the Congress Democrats to introduce a major expansion of the social safety net.
The Build Back Better Act is an attempt by the Democrats to build on this investment in traditional infrastructure by making extensive investments to increase social programs and address the climate crisis.
Among its many provisions, the legislation would create a universal pre-K program, extend the improved tax deduction for children, and expand access to health care, affordable housing, and home care for seniors.
Democrats argue that the provisions of the bill are an urgent need and will benefit Americans broadly. Republicans, meanwhile, have condemned the legislation as a ruthless and biased tax and spending spree.
The Congressional Budget Office announced its final score for the bill early Thursday night, estimating that the package “would result in a net increase in the deficit totaling $ 367 billion,” according to a summary.
But the White House has worked to make it the case that the bill will be paid in full, despite the CBO analysis showing a shortcoming.
The CBO analysis does not include revenue from tighter IRS enforcement. The CBO previously estimated it would raise $ 207 billion.
The White House claims that increased IRS enforcement would actually raise more than what the CBO projects had, meaning the bill would be paid in full at their discretion.
Democrats pass the bill after McCarthy’s marathon speech
Democrats have an extremely thin majority in Parliament and can only afford to lose three votes and still pass legislation. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN prior to the vote that he knew of only one expected Democratic defector, Jared Golden of Maine.
The legislation is expected to undergo major revisions in the Senate, as moderate Democrats are likely to demand significant changes to the bill. It will require Parliament to vote on it again in the coming weeks before it goes to Biden’s desk.
Representatives’ vote Friday morning came after McCarthy stopped the action on the floor with a railing of speeches against Democrats that stretched to the early hours of Friday morning.
Hoyer announced shortly after midnight that the vote, which was expected as early as Thursday night, would be adjourned until later Friday.
“He wants to do it in the gloom and darkness of the night,” Hoyer said, referring to McCarthy. “We will do it during the day.”
This story and headline has been updated with further developments on Friday.