President Biden Announces ‘Historic’ Spending Plan

President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that he had reached a “historic economic framework” with Democrats in Congress on his social spending plan, the Build Back Better Act.

Biden’s remarks at the White House came after he traveled to Capitol Hill to make the case to House Democrats for the $1.75 trillion package.

“.I want to thank my colleagues in the Congress for their leadership.  We’ve spent hours and hours and hours over months and months working on this,” Biden said. “It will fundamentally change the lives of millions of people for the better.”

Together with a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, Biden told lawmakers it would be a domestic achievement greater than those from Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson.

Biden was hoping to have a deal in hand before departing later in the day for global summits, but negotiations are ongoing with Democrats hoping to vote on both bills next week.

“No one got everything they wanted, including me, but that’s what compromise is – that’s consensus and that’s what I ran on,” Biden said. “I’ve long said compromise and consensus are the only way to get big things done in a democracy, important things for the country.”

One of the major policies cut from the bill was a proposal for paid family and medical leave. That was dropped from the bill on Wednesday after West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said he did not think the provision belonged in the bill.

Also gone from the proposal are initiatives to empower Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers to try to get lower prices for seniors; medicare expansion to cover dental, vision, and hearing; free community college; and a comprehensive program to reward electric utilities for switching to renewable energy.

While some Democratic priorities were cut from the spending plan during the months-long negotiations, many others have been included.

Here’s what’s still in the package:

  • Universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds funded for at least 6 years
  • Subsidized child care that caps what parents pay at 7% of their income
  • A one-year extension of the current enhanced Child Tax Credit
  • Expand free school lunch programs and provide $65 per child per month to purchase food during the summer
  • Expanded Medicare coverage to include the launch of a $35 billion new hearing aid benefit for seniors
  • Extend the current, pandemic-related Affordable Care Act subsidies for 4 years
  • Expanded tax credits for 10 years for utility and residential clean energy, including electric vehicles.
  • Expanding access to affordable housing with a plan to build and renovate more than one million affordable homes
  • Extend the expanded Earned Income Tax credit for low-wage workers
  • Increase Pell Grants and expand its access to DREAMERS
  • $555 billion to tackle climate change and tax credits for solar panels, electric vehicles and clean energy production.
  • $100 billion to bolster the legal immigration and border processing system.

While Democrats largely seem on board, some negotiations are still happening, and it’s likely the proposal will be tweaked before it is voted on next week.

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