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House passes social safety net and climate plan


Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of Congress and stands with U.S. president Joe Biden as he signs S.J.Res.15 into law, relating “National Banks and Federal Savings Associations as Lenders”, at the White House in Washington on June 30, 2021.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives on Friday passed the largest expansion of the social safety net in decades, a $1.75 trillion bill that funds universal pre-K, Medicare expansion, renewable energy credits, affordable housing, a year of expanded Child Tax Credits and major Obamacare subsidies.

Final vote: 220-213, with only Jared Golden, a Maine Democrat who voted against it.

The House has passed the Build Back Better Act of President Joe Biden. This bill will now go to the Senate for revisions. Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, stated that he hopes to get the bill passed by the chamber before Christmas. If the bill is changed, it will be put to a second vote by the House.

This bill could fundamentally alter the way Americans live, particularly for families with young children or those on low incomes.

The current bill version:

  • Universal preschool available for all children aged 3 and 4. This benefit could help prepare millions of school-age children better and enable their parents to go back to work earlier.
  • Parents earning more than 250% or less of the state’s median income can have childcare costs cap at 7%.
  • 4 weeks paid federal parental, sick and caregiver leave
  • The year that Child Tax Credits were expanded. These credits were expanded over the last year. raised households with more than 3 million children out of povertyTo reduce America’s overall child poverty of 25%
  • Extend pandemic-era Affordable Care Act subsidy. These subsidies have boosted ACA enrollment by over 2 million so far in this fiscal year.
  • Medicare beneficiaries get new hearing benefits, which include coverage for a hearing aid each five years.
  • Medicare has a $35 monthly limit on insulin costs, while prescription drug prices are limited to $2,000 annually.
  • Climate change: $500 billion for climate mitigation, mostly through tax credits on clean energy. This is the biggest federal investment ever made in clean energy.
  • The State and local tax deduction limits can be increased from $10,000 to $80,000

This bill is a significant victory for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who managed to unite a split caucus that had conflicting interests behind one sprawling bill of over 2,000 pages, and passed it with a slim majority.

It’s a long journey to get a ballot

Pelosi, Democratic leaders and others had originally hoped that this bill would be passed on Nov. 5, which was also the day when the chamber voted for a $1 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure bill.

However, Democratic moderates demanded a Congressional Budget Office analysis on the bill’s effects before voting. That analysisThe release was not made public until Thursday. House Democrats had been hoping for a vote on Thursday night. But Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Republican leader, scuttled those plans by rambling. eight-hour-plus speechThat continued all the way through Friday night, right up to early Saturday morning.

Without a clear assurance from moderates that they would vote for the Build Back Better act when it was brought to the floor, progressives were reluctantly willing to support the bill on infrastructure.

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That assurance came in the form a statement by moderates stating that they would vote for the Build back Better Act in its current form as soon as the CBO score was obtained.

Six progressives voted in opposition to the bill despite the compromise. 13 Republicans voted with Democrats for the passage of the legislation.

Without those thirteen Republican votes, however the bill would have failed to pass.

Last-minute compromise

Final language for the Build Back Better Bill reflects several late-stage agreements that Democratic leadership made with small numbers of holdouts.

They included Democrats, who demanded immigration language be added to the bill; a Northeast group of legislators opposed to the lower SALT deduct cap and a third block of moderates that refused to support Medicare having broad powers to determine prescription drug prices.

Leaders and members came to a compromise in each instance, an indication of the faith that Pelosi’s members still have in the speaker, even after many months of sometimes difficult negotiations.

Biden wins a major victory

Biden’s first full year as president would be marked by the Build Back Better Act, and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. President signed the infrastructure bill into lawThis week, earlier.

They fulfill the core promise of his campaign to be president for the middle-class, to help working families in tangible ways and combat climate change.

These are a great example of Biden’s claim that American democracy is able to deliver a better standard of living than autocracies.

For President Biden, the bills came at an incredibly important moment. Biden’s approval ratings have fallen due to inflation and a crisis in the supply chain.

Another poll showed that while Democrats in Congress fought over the bill’s content, more voters came to view the party as unproductive and out of touch with their constituents.

Next steps at the Senate

After passing the House, it will now go to the Senate. It is expected to be revised there in the next few weeks.

The next steps will be influenced by two key swing vote senators, who are both conservative Democrats. Joe Manchin from West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sifnema in Arizona. Manchin already stated that he opposed the inclusion of paid leave in this bill.

Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. is the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Sanders said that he doesn’t support raising the SALT limit deduction. He argued it benefits the richest taxpayers, and the government incurs billions in additional costs.