House Democrats are expected to vote on a nearly $2 trillion social-spending bill this week, as Republicans intensify their criticism of the measure amid the highest inflation in three decades.
Called Build Back Better, the $1.75 trillion measure includes universal pre-K, electric-vehicle tax credits, paid leave and many more priorities touted by congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden. This will be paid by the 15% corporate minimum tax, among other revenue collectors.
Unlike bipartisan infrastructure, PAVE,
Bill Biden is due to sign Monday, the social-spending bill has no Republican support – and parts of it face resistance from West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin. Approval by the House would send the measure to the Senate, where the changes are certain but certain.
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A specific vote date has not been set in the House. A small group of centrist Democrats have demanded Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill before proceeding. CBO on Monday said It expects to release a full cost estimate by the end of the day on Friday.
Lawmakers returning to Washington this week are also facing deadlines on government funding and US debt limits. Federal government operations are funded through December 3, and will result in a partial shutdown if Congress does not approve at least one stopgap budget.
The US is also facing a debt-limit deadline around the same time, although at least one analysis suggests the government could run out of cash by mid-February if the borrowing limit is not raised.
Describing the bipartisan infrastructure bill in a visit to Baltimore last week, Biden insisted that his economic plans would help tame inflation.
“Very soon we’re going to see the supply chain start catching up with demand, so not only will we see more record-breaking job growth, we’ll also see lower prices, faster delivery,” the president said.
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On Sunday, Brian Deez, the director of the White House National Economic Council, acknowledged high US inflation but said the administration was working to address rising costs.
“This concern really underscores why it is so important to move forward on the Build Back Better bill that Congress is considering,” Dees said on ABC’s “This Week.” Dees said the bill would address the costs Americans are facing in child care, housing and health care.
Meanwhile, Republicans have criticized Democrats’ plans.
“Biden is trying to convince people that inflation will go away when he spends another $1.75 trillion that we don’t have,” GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said in a tweet last week.