On Nov. 19, the House passed President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion social safety and climate bill. The vote passed 220-213, with one Democrat opposing it. Republicans, who have been rallying against the bill since it was first introduced, voted unanimously against it.
The Build Back Better Act proposes universal preschool for all three and four-year-olds, four weeks of federal paid parental leave, a year of expanded child tax credits, $500 million for combating climate change, and increasing the local and state tax deduction limit to $80,000 from the earlier $10,000, among other things.
“This bill will speak for itself to millions and millions and millions and millions of Americans whose lives will be made more secure and richer in terms of their quality of life, whose educational opportunities will be greater, and whose job opportunities will be greatly enhanced,” Majority leader Democrat Steny Hoyer said at a press conference discussing the bill.
One factor that has attracted immense criticism is the fact that the bill is considered extremely expensive. The Build Back Better Act will add around $750 million to the federal deficit over the course of five years. However, some experts point out that the final tally could end up being far higher since the legislation uses arbitrary policy sunsets and other means to make the bill seem less expensive than it truly is.
Biden’s bill could cost $4.91 trillion
According to a report by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the bill could cost as much as $4.91 trillion over a decade. The Democrats had claimed that the bill would cost nothing. But a Congressional Budget Office report calculated the bill to add $367 billion to the federal deficit.
“I oppose Democrats’ reckless tax & spending spree that just passed the House It’s wrong for America to spend $1.9 TRILLION on social spending when inflation is at a 30yr high The Senate should throw partisan bill in garbage & do drug pricing/paid family leave etc in a bipart way,” Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said in a tweet.
The bill is also being criticized for its socialist price policies on drugs which some worry will kill innovation, remove the funding prohibition against Uyghur forced labor, add $500 million for medicine schools based on racial demographics, and fund advances in critical race theory.
“House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) held a marathon eight hour, forty-two minute speech railing against President Joe Biden and his ‘Build Back Better’ legislative agenda. McCarthy now holds the record for the longest speech on the House floor,” Breitbart reported.
Among Democrats, the bill is being viewed with apprehension by senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema. Manchin has openly expressed displeasure at the cost of the bill and its potential effect on federal deficit and inflation. The senator has also indicated that he will push to remove the proposal of four weeks of paid leave. Meanwhile, Sinema had earlier suppressed Democrat attempts to increase taxes on wealthy individuals and big businesses.
Independent Bernie Sanders is dissatisfied with the proposal to raise the cap on state and local tax deductions to $80,000 from $10,000. The measure is seen as benefiting wealthy people. Given that the bill is being advertised by Democrats as being aimed at the common man, this tax policy does not sit well with lawmakers like Sanders.
“You can’t be a political party that talks about demanding the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, and then end up with a bill that gives large tax breaks to millionaires. You can’t do that… The hypocrisy is too strong. It’s bad policy, it’s bad politics,” Sanders said. The Build Back Better Act will now head to the Senate, where it will likely be subjected to various revisions.