House passes $1.7 trillion Build Back Better Act
The U.S. House of Representatives this morning passed the $1.7 trillion Build Back Better (BBB) Act by a vote of 220-213, just days after President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan into law.
“Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act to take another giant step forward in carrying out my economic plan to create jobs, reduce costs, make our country more competitive, and give working people and the middle class a fighting chance,” Biden said in a statement.
The House version of the social spending bill includes massive investments in childcare ($400 billion for free universal preschool and $200 billion for child tax credits), climate change ($555 billion), expanding health care ($165 billion) and affordable housing ($150 billion).
Highlights in House bill include four weeks of paid family leave and $150 billion to expand access to quality home-based care for millions of older adults and people with disabilities. It also lowers the cost of prescription drugs and caps out-of-pocket payments for insulin at $35.
To fight climate change, BBB extends and expands clean energy tax credits to invest more than $300 billion to support clean energy investments, improve energy efficiency and encourage the purchase of electric vehicles. Also, $29 billion for a new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund that will enable nonprofit, state and local climate finance institutions leverage private-sector investments and rapidly deploy low- and zero-emission technologies, including zero-emission vehicle supply equipment, with at least 40 percent of investments in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
To help pay for these historic investments, the BBB will require companies that report over $1 billion in profits to shareholders to pay at least a 15 percent tax rate on those gigantic profits. It also will impose a 5 percent surtax on individuals with incomes over $10 million and an extra 3 percent surtax on incomes over $25 million.
In a statement, Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities (NLC) said: “Together, the bipartisan infrastructure bill and Build Back Better Act (BBBA) will provide investments, opportunities and economic growth critical to sustained recovery for communities across the country. The Build Back Better Act includes key priority areas NLC championed including programs to support workforce development, increase housing affordability and improve climate resilience.”
The social spending bill now goes to the Senate, where, through reconciliation, it can be passed with a simple majority vote, but will likely be revised again.