On Friday, the House voted to pass a historic $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act that makes unprecedented investments in working people, families, and communities across America.
The roll call fell mostly among party lines with a vote of 220-213, with one Democrat, Maine Congressman Jared Goldman, voting against it.
“We have a Build Back Better Bill that is historic, transformative and larger than anything we have ever done before,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote. “We are building back better. If you are a parent, senior, child, worker, American — this bill is for you.”
The transformative legislation delivers critical funding for life-changing programs, including high-quality childcare where most families pay no more than seven percent of their income, universal preschool, paid family and medical leave, home and community-based care, affordable housing, health care, aggressive action to take on the climate crisis, extending the Child Tax Credit, and immigration reform.
While creating millions of good-paying jobs, the bill is paid for by making the largest corporations and wealthiest Americans begin to pay their fair share in taxes.
In a rambling 8 hour and 42 minute speech meant to delay the vote, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the legislation “the single most reckless and irresponsible spending bill in our nation’s history.”
The Build Back Better Act provides the largest expansion of universal and free education since the establishment of public high schools. With a historic investment of more than half a trillion dollars, the package is also the largest effort to combat climate change in American history.
Additionally, the legislation includes the largest and most comprehensive investment in affordable housing while allowing Medicare to cover hearing care for the very first time since the program was established in 1965.
“While operating with the slimmest of majorities and zero Republican votes, Democrats continue to take decisive action to lift up communities throughout this country and make unprecedented investments in progressive priorities including affordable housing, bold climate action, and strengthening the care economy,” said Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal. “We will keep leveling the playing field for working families as we not only build back better but fairer.”
President Joe Biden released a statement after the bill passed.
“Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act to take another giant step forward in carrying out my economic plan to create jobs, reduce costs, make our country more competitive, and give working people and the middle class a fighting chance,” said Biden.
He added that the bill puts the United States “on the path to build our economy back better than before by rebuilding the backbone of America: working people and the middle class.”
The bill now heads to the Senate, where Democratic lawmakers will continue negotiating parts of the bill. The Senate can then pass it through the reconciliation process without the need for any Republican votes just as long as all 50 Democrats vote for the package.