- The House passed President Joe Biden’s $1.7 trillion social spending and climate bill, and the Senate aims to approve it before Christmas.
- The Senate will likely change the paid vacation program and tax policy in the House version of the plan.
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would require all 50 members of his caucus to support the bill.
- If the Chamber makes any changes to the package, the House will have to vote on it again.
After months of starts and pauses, the House on Friday passed President Joe Biden’s $1.7 trillion social safety net and climate bill.
The process won’t be easy for Democrats as the bill goes to the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to pass the Build Back Better Act by Christmas. To do so, he would have to get all 50 members of his caucus — from conservative Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — to support the same broad plan.
Several senators will push for changes to the bill’s provisions, including paid vacation and taxes along the way. Any change would require another vote in the House, where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could defection to three (only one Democrat, Representative Jared Golden of Maine, voted against the bill on Friday).
Congress will leave Washington for Thanksgiving week, setting up a December rush to approve the bill before turning the capital’s attention to the 2022 midterm elections. In a statement after Friday’s House vote, Schumer said the Senate would take the package after a Senate lawmaker completed “necessary technical and procedural work” to ensure it complies with budget reconciliation rules. The special process allows Democrats to approve the plan with a simple majority without GOP votes.
“We will act as quickly as possible to get this bill to President Biden’s desk and help middle-class families,” he said.
house bill This includes child-care subsidies, a one-year extension of the enhanced Child Tax Credit and Universal Pre-K. It would expand Medicare to cover hearing aids and promote options for low-income Americans to purchase insurance through Medicare.
The plan will invest about $550 billion in programs designed to curb climate change.
Changes are likely in the Senate before the bill is passed. Munchkin, who has not publicly backed the package because he expresses concerns about spending and inflation, will at least call for an overhaul.
He has indicated that he would push for an end to the House provision offering most Americans four weeks of paid leave.
Kirsten Cinema, D-Ariz., is another Democrat who may try to influence the bill in the Senate. He previously rejected his party’s efforts to increase tax rates on the biggest businesses and the wealthiest, forcing lawmakers to opt for more complex policies such as a minimum tax on corporations.
Tax policy could become one of the biggest sticking points in the Senate. Sanders and Sen. Bob Menendez, D.N.J. has taken issue with a House proposal to raise the limit on state and local tax deductions from $10,000 to $80,000 by 2030.
The policy – which Pelosi has defended – would disproportionately help wealthy Americans as part of a bill Democrats have sold working families as a boon. This will also cost the revenue of the exchequer.
“You can’t be a political party that demands the rich pay their fair share of taxes, and then end up with a bill that gives millionaires big tax breaks. You can’t do that, Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said in a tweet statement Thursday. “Hypocrisy is very strong. This is bad policy, this is bad politics.”
In a separate statement Friday, Sanders cited tax policy, drug prices, Medicare expansion and climate policy as he promised to “strengthen the Build Back Better Act” in the Senate.
Democrats will likely find a compromise around tax cuts. A handful of House Democrats from high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey conditioned the cap to be lifted to support the bill.
Another tax plan that could surface in the Senate is a proposal by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to tax billionaires’ wealth. Golden said Friday that adding a levy to the Senate Finance Committee chair on billionaires or adding a cap on state and local cuts could get him to support the legislation when it comes back to the House.
In other possible changes, Senate lawmakers will strike a House resolution to establish limited legal protections for millions of undocumented immigrants.
After the House passed his version of the bill on Friday, Pelosi acknowledged he would have to resolve differences with the Senate.
“This bill will now be turned over to their committees and at that point we will see where we need to, shall we say, settle our differences. But at the end of the day, we will have a great bill,” she said.