Biden hails House passage of key piece of his domestic agenda
President Biden on Friday morning hailed the House passage of his sweeping climate and social spending package as a major step forward in boosting U.S. competitiveness and giving the American middle class a “fighting chance.”
Biden, who called Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Friday morning to congratulate her for successfully ushering the bill through the lower chamber, said he looked forward to the Senate passing the bill “as soon as possible” so he can sign it into law.
“Above all, it puts us on the path to build our economy back better than before by rebuilding the backbone of America: working people and the middle class,” Biden said of the bill in a statement. “I thank Speaker Pelosi and the House leadership and every House member who worked so hard and voted to pass this bill.”
“For the second time in just two weeks, the House of Representatives has moved on critical and consequential pieces of my legislative agenda,” Biden continued, referring to the passage of the infrastructure bill earlier this month. “Now, the Build Back Better Act goes to the United States Senate, where I look forward to it passing as soon as possible so I can sign it into law.”
The vote represented a major victory for Biden, though the legislation still faces a battle in the Senate, where moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) will need to be on board with the rest of the Democratic caucus to pass the bill without Republican support.
The bill, which costs almost $2 trillion, contains provisions to tackle climate change, extend the expanded child tax credit, provide universal pre-kindergarten, lower the costs of child care and reduce prescription drug costs. It includes tax increases on the wealthy and corporations as well as a provision to beef up IRS enforcement to offset the costs.
It passed the House on a near party-line vote, with one Democrat, centrist Rep. Jared Golden (Maine), crossing the aisle to vote against the measure with every Republican.
The bill was held up due to concerns from House moderates about the impact of the bill on the national debt. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an assessment on Thursday indicating that the package would add about $160 billion to the deficit over the next decade.
But the White House has disputed the assessment, saying that the CBO is underestimating the money generated from enhanced IRS enforcement and that it would reduce the deficit over the next 10 years.
Biden in his statement described the bill as “fiscally responsible” and insisted it would reduce the deficit “over the long-term.”
“It’s fully paid for by making sure that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share in federal taxes. It keeps my commitment that no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in federal taxes,” Biden said.
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