WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden finally unveiled a new framework on Thursday for his sweeping social spending package as Democrats get closer to a deal but still remain at odds on how to pay for the package.
Biden delayed his trip to Europe by a few hours to meet with House Democrats at Capitol Hill and told them “We are at an inflection point,” at a closed-door meeting. Despite a push from Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats missed another self-imposed deadline on Thursday for a vote on the bills.
“I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week,” Biden told Democrats in the meeting, according to sources.
Thursday morning saw the White House released the framework of the Build Back Better Act, which includes money for child care and climate change. The framework included the new price tag of $1.75 trillion, down from the original $3.5 trillion, but closer to what moderate Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema want.
What’s in the bill
The White House describes the Build Back Better Act as “the most transformative investment in children’s caregiving in generations, the largest effort to combat climate change in history, a historic tax cut for tens of millions of middle-class families, and the biggest expansion of affordable health care in decades”.
One key piece missing from the bill is paid family leave, a priority for many Democrats. Pelosi said on Thursday that is one thing she wants to see remain in the bill despite heavy pushback from Manchin.
“There are some things that are not in that I frankly have not given up on,” said Pelosi, “I still would like to see paid leave for the babies, if we can’t get the rest. But that’s still a work in progress, shall we say.”
The bill will provide universal free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, extend the child tax credit from the American Rescue Plan, and reduce health insurance premiums by an average of $600 per year for more than 9 million Americans who have Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act.
Biden will likely land in Rome without a deal being done. He’s planning to meet with other world leaders in Scotland to discuss climate change, something he’s making a core issue of his presidency.
The White House says the bill will be paid for by a rise in taxes on the highest-income Americans by creating a surtax on the incomes of multimillionaires and billionaires.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki released a statement on Thursday night, saying the administration is hopeful that a bill will be passed soon.
“As the President said this morning, we are proud of the hard work we’ve done with Members of Congress over these last months, and we’re confident that soon we’ll pass both the Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal,” she said.