President Joe Biden’s agenda may finally come to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives on Friday, with Democratic leaders planning for a vote on the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act and the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
House Republicans started the day by moving for a procedural vote to adjourn, and it is expected to fail.
What’s still unclear is when, or if, the Build Back Better Act will come to a vote, after weeks of negotiations between the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic party. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced to members that votes were planned on the two bills, but did not provide specifics on timing.
“Today is going to be a bright day in America,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) predicted on the floor of the House.
The Build Back Better Act amasses a host of party priorities into one package, including universal pre-K, affordable housing construction, expansion of Medicaid and the extension of a child tax credit, among other initiatives. It also would provide a massive outlay to combat climate changes, with tax incentives and consumer rebates, forest conservation and the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps. The legislation also includes tax credits for local news outlets for the hiring of local journalists. That is expected to cost $1.67 billion over 10 years.
Even if it passes the House — and it would be by the narrowest of margins — the legislation would likely be changed significantly in the Senate, where Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have balked at the original size of the package. Manchin earlier this week said that he wanted more time to assess the bill’s impact on the deficit and inflation.
By contrast, if the infrastructure bill passes the House, it would go to Biden’s desk, as it already passed the Senate with bipartisan support. The legislation includes money for traditional projects like roads and bridges, as well as tens of billions to modernize public transit and airports. It also provides $65 billion to expand and upgrade broadband service, as well as an outlay to address climate change. The latter includes $7.5 billion to build a network of electric vehicle charging stations.
Negotiations over the Build Back Better Act continued throughout the day and into the evening on Thursday, with reports that it will include a provision of particular interest to lawmakers in states with high state and local income taxes.
The provision reportedly will raise the tax deduction allowed for state and local taxes to $80,000, from the $10,000, and run through 2030. The state and local tax deduction was rolled back by Republicans in their tax package in 2017, a move that ended up hurting House members in suburban districts in New York, New Jersey and California in the 2018 midterm elections.