House Passes ‘Build Back Better’ Social Spending Plan; What’s in It?

House Passes 'Build Back Better' Social Spending Plan; What's in It? street signs pointing in different directions read build, back, better (Jon Anders Wiken/Dreamstime)

By Nick Koutsobinas | Saturday, 20 November 2021 12:18 PM

House Democrats, minus one, passed the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill Friday.

"We have a Build Back Better Bill that is historic, transformative and larger than anything we have ever done before," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before voting, Time reported.

"We are building back better. If you are a parent, senior, child, worker, American — this bill is for you."

Now the bill heads to the Senate, where the upper chamber will debate the bill's components further. In theory, the bill could pass the 50-50 Senate via budget reconciliation and the tiebreaker of Vice President Kamala Harris.

However, this might be a tough ask for Democrats as two members of their party Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have been skeptical of voting for new spending programs amid rising inflation and trillions already having been passed on COVID-19 stimulus and infrastructure.

The opposition from the two Democrat senators allows them to wield enormous power to alter the bill's text. And if the text of the bill is changed, it would be sent back to the House for reconsideration.

Below are seven top-line items included in the social spending bill:

Climate Change $555 Billion

The most significant sum in the bill would be directed toward curbing climate change. The White House hopes the bill's passing will allow President Joe Biden to make good on his goal of cutting climate emissions in half by 2030. The bulk of the bill's climate change price tag comes by way of the $320 billion in tax credits for companies or consumers who buy electric vehicles, purchase solar panels, or invest in improving the energy efficiency of their buildings.

Universal Pre-K $400 Billion

The bill would provide free preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds.

Child Tax Credits $200 Billion

A one-year extension will be granted to parents receiving a child tax credit, which provides $300 every month for children under age six and $250 for children six to 17.

4 Weeks of Paid Leave $200 Billion

If passed, the bill would create a permanent program that gives paid workers and even self-employed workers four weeks of paid family or medical leave, which can be used for personal illness or caregiving.

Healthcare Spending $165 Billion

The bill would also expand parts of the Affordable Care Act by reducing healthcare premiums.

Affordable Homecare $150 Billion

The social spending bill would also provide funding for Medicaid programs that support in-home healthcare.

Affordable Housing $150 Billion

And lastly, part of the money directed in the bill would go toward building one million new rental and single-family homes.

How is all this being paid for? Democrats are saying high earners and large corporations would pay for the bill via tax increases; however, the Congressional Budget Office found provisions outlined in the bill would only allocate $1.5 trillion over 10 years, missing the mark on the $1.75 trillion price tag.

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