The Fight Over Build Back Better Continues


Adam Schultz

Biden promotes his Build Back Better plan to the country.

Audrey Smith, Writer

The United States is now almost a year into Biden’s presidency, and many are unhappy with his administration. Although his current social-spending infrastructure bill, the Build Back Better, could change many viewpoints…if it ever gets past.

The Build Back Better (BBB) is a $1.7 trillion bill that focuses on family, climate, and Medicare spending.

According to ABC News, “The legislation includes $555 billion for climate initiatives, $109 billion for universal Pre-K, $150 billion for affordable housing and $167 billion for Medicare expansion.”

The bill also includes a new tax on the income of the top millionaires and billionaires, and will close loopholes that allow the wealthy to avoid paying taxes. This new tax will provide a majority of the money for the bill as well as increasing corporation tax.

The social-spending bill is preceded by the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF), Biden’s traditional infrastructure bill that received a good amount of bipartisan support. So far, no Republican in Congress has expressed support for the BBB.

The BBB passed in the House in mid-November along party lines, where it faced cuts from the original $3.5 trillion. It has now moved to the Senate, where it will likely face more cuts before being passed back to the House.

Most of these cuts come from moderate-Democrat Congressmen, who have refused to pass the bill without some cuts. Two Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin (WV) and Kirsten Sinema (AZ), have become outspoken critics of the bill, causing conflict because of the 50-50 party split in the Senate.

Joe Manchin, who represents a coal-producing state, has opposed a hefty amount of the bill’s clean electricity legislation.

As reported by the New York Times, a spokesperson for Manchin, Sam Runyon, stated in an email, “Senator Manchin has clearly expressed his concerns about using taxpayer dollars to pay private companies to do things they’re already doing. He continues to support efforts to combat climate change while protecting American energy independence.”

These climate objections have led to another conflict with progressive Democrats who have expressed uncertainty at voting for the bill if a climate agenda is not included.

In a statement on Twitter, Progressive Democrat in the House, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed, “If BBB is gutted/dies, we may have just locked in US [carbon] emissions and thrown away our biggest chance to combat climate change.”

Not only will the bill aid in combating climate change, economists have expressed it can help ease rising inflation, but it needs to have minimal cuts so the impact is felt. The Washington Post found, “some indicated that the proposed changes [to the bill] have lessened the potential impact on inflationary pressures.”

This effort to combat inflation can sway more Americans on Biden’s side as many see current economic difficulties as his fault, especially with rising gas prices. It can also sway Manchin and Sinema to keep the bill at its current spending.

President Biden and the Democrats have expressed hope that the bill will be passed by Christmas; however America has to wait and see what the final outcome of the bill looks like.