President Joe Biden released Thursday a new spending plan, significantly paring back the original bill and its price tag after some Senate Democrats balked.
The framework for the Build Back Better Act includes $1.85 trillion in spending — with nearly $1 trillion for child care and preschool and clean energy and climate investments — and nearly $2 trillion in revenue offsets, including a surtax on multi-millionaires and billionaires.
In states like North Carolina which have not expanded Medicaid to more low-income people, the White House said the compromise plan would make millions of those people eligible for tax credits to pay premiums on Affordable Care Act health insurance plans.
Currently, according to a White House statement, “A 40-year old in the coverage gap would have to pay $450 per month for benchmark coverage — more than half of their income in many cases. The framework provides individuals $0 premiums, finally making health care affordable and accessible.”
The package came after long negotiations between Biden, his administration, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona as well as more liberal members of the House and Senate. Democrats, with a slim majority in the House and no room for any defections in the Senate, are trying to keep their party together.
But one proposal after another, from dental and vision care for seniors to paid leave for workers to free community college, has been dropped or dramatically scaled back as part of negotiations, drawing criticism from many Democrats.
“We’ve watched for weeks as a historic agenda to transform the lives of the poor, the working poor, and the barely middle class has been chipped away at by corporations & special interests,” former North Carolina state Sen. Erica Smith, a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2022, tweeted Thursday. “It’s bad politics & cruel public policy. We need more @USProgressives”
The White House said it will not raise taxes on small business or anyone making less than $400,000 per year. In a statement, the White House said Biden “is confident this is a framework that can pass both houses of Congress.”
What’s in the bill:
Universal, free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds. Funded for six years.
Limits child care costs to no more than 7% of income for families earning up to 250% of a state’s median income. Funded for six years.
Care for older Americans and people with disabilities
Expanded child tax credit
Clean energy tax credits ($320 billion)
Investments and incentives to address extreme weather ($105 billion)
Investments and incentives for clean energy technology, manufacturing and supply chains ($110 billion)
Clean energy purchases ($20 billion)
Extend Affordable Care Act premium tax credits, and extend them to 4 million uninsured people in states that have not expanded Medicaid through 2025 ($130 billion)
Allow Medicare to cover the cost of hearing ($35 billion)
Housing affordability spending, including building public housing and more than 1 million new affordable rental and single-family homes and public housing ($150 billion)
Raise maximum Pell grant, money for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions
One-year extension of Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers
15% corporate minimum tax on large corporations
1% surcharge on corporate stock buybacks
15% global minimum tax
New surtax on multi-millionaires and billionaires
Investment in IRS enforcement