WASHINGTON – After months of negotiations, the House is poised to vote Friday on two major aspects of President Joe Biden’s agenda: a $1.2 bipartisan infrastructure deal and a multi-trillion social services package with money for free preschool, tools to fight climate change and expanded hearing benefits for seniors.
A senior Democratic aide told USA TODAY the House will vote on both pieces of legislation and that congressional leaders who have been working to get enough support for the plans are feeling confident in their passage.
Democrats in the House were negotiating late into the night Thursday on the $1.85 trillion budget bill, which the administration calls the Build Back Better plan. The bill funds several progressive priorities like universal preschool, child care subsidies, eldercare, climate investments and housing.
The Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill – which is aimed at improving the nation’s highways, broadband internet and airports – in August. If it passes the House Friday, it will be sent to Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
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The infrastructure legislation has been bottlenecked by negotiations over Biden’s larger budget proposal. House progressives held up votes on the infrastructure bill twice, worried they’d lose their leverage with negotiating the larger package if moderates scored a victory first by passing the infrastructure bill.
Biden originally pitched a $3.5 trillion budget bill, but the president and progressives had to scale back the budget spending bill to appease moderate Senate Democrats Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. However, the two senators have not publicly supported the proposal the House expects to take up Friday, suggesting possible changes in the legislation should it pass the House and go to the Senate.
Analysis says Biden’s spending plan is unlikely to add to deficitThe nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation released its initial analysis of Democrats’ spending bill the House aims to vote on Friday, finding it would raise $1.48 trillion in revenue over a decade.
It also said President Joe Biden’s plan would be unlikely to add to the deficit long term.
But a group of Democratic House moderates want a Congressional Budget Office score to be released on the legislation before they vote on it Friday. That score would similarly analyze the effect the legislation might have on revenue.
The group includes at least Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, and Stephanie Murphy of Florida. Golden told reporters Friday that without a CBO score, he would vote against the bill. Gottheimer and Murphy echoed those sentiments Thursday.
A House Democratic aide familiar with the process told USA TODAY a CBO score is weeks away.
– Savannah Behrmann
What’s in the Build Back Better bill?: A look at climate provisionsDemocrats have touted the climate provisions in their budget spending bill they’re pushing to pass in the House Friday. The proposal includes $320 billion to expand tax credits over the next decade for utility and residential clean energy, clean passenger and commercial vehicles, and clean energy manufacturing.
It also includes $105 billion in “resilience” programs to ward off and prepare for extreme weather events such as wildfires and hurricanes made worse by climate change. And it creates a Civilian Climate Corps designed to deploy a force of young workers to help communities address the threat of climate change.
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Some climate aspects in Biden’s original proposal were taken out to appease some moderates, including a $150 billion program that would have required electricity suppliers that do not transition fast enough to clean energy (4% increase per year) to pay a penalty.
The vote on the legislation, which has some of the most aggressive climate initiatives in modern history, would come just days after President Joe Biden emerged from the United Nations’ COP26 climate summit in Scotland, where he touted the proposal as “the most significant investment to deal with the climate crisis that any advanced nation has made, ever.”
– Savannah Behrmann