Biden social and climate bill clears procedural vote in House, where it still awaits final approval

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny Hopyer (D-Md.), right and Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) hold a news conference about plans to move forward on the Build Back Better Act, as well as the infrastructure bill, at the U.S. Capitol, Friday, November 5, 2021.
WASHINGTON The House of Representatives voted on Saturday morning in a crucial procedural vote to ensure passage of the Build back Better Act, President Joe Biden’s signature social safety net bill and climate change bill.

After the House passed late Friday night's $1 trillion Senate-approved bipartisan infrastructure bill (which will now be going to Biden's desk), the party-line vote was quickly taken.

The procedural vote on the larger social services and climate plans was a partial win for the White House. Democratic leaders in Congress had hoped to pass the final bill and both the procedural vote.

The move still showed that the Democratic caucus can unite to vote for Build Back Better legislation even though they couldn't vote to pass it.

Biden stated that the Build Back Better Act would be a once in a generation investment in our people in a statement applauding the passage and success of his procedural vote for the social and climate plans.

Late Friday morning, the final passage plan collapsed. It became apparent that a small number of moderate House members would not vote in favor of the bill until they had seen an economic analysis by the Congressional Budget Office on the bill's long-term effects on the budget deficit. This is known as a CBO Score.

After progressives refused to pass a finalized version of the companion bill for infrastructure that was favored by moderates without simultaneously passing the final version the Build Back Better Act, the procedural vote proved difficult for many hours.

Biden brokered the deal and helped to resolve the impasse. The moderates agreed to a formal pledge to vote in favor of the social spending bill if the CBO score indicated that it would not increase the budget deficit.

However, the CBO won't have the report ready for Congress for several days. Congress will be on recess next week. Initial impressions were that moderate House members would accept a report released by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.

The report concluded that the $1.75 trillion bill for social spending would not increase the federal deficit over the long-term. The report didn't take into account several key parts of the bill, which were still being negotiated in the early hours of this week when the analysis was done.

The procedural vote determines the conditions for the final vote. This includes how long each party has to discuss the bill on the House's floor and whether amendments are allowed. It also sets the parameters for what the bill will look like when it is finally put to a formal vote later in this month.

What's included in the bill?

All 3- and 4-year-olds can attend universal preschool The benefit will help millions of children be better prepared for school and allow parents to return to work earlier.

Parents earning more than 250% of the state's median income can have childcare costs cap at 7%.

4 weeks federally paid parental, sick, or caregiver leave

An additional year of Child Tax Credits. These credits have lifted households with over 3 million children out poverty and reduced overall child poverty by 25% in the United States.

Subsidies for the Affordable Care Act during the pandemic era. These subsidies have boosted ACA enrollment by more 2 million this year.

Medicare beneficiaries get new hearing benefits, including coverage for a hearing aid every five year.

Medicare has a $35 monthly limit on insulin costs, and $2.000 annually for out-of-pocket prescription drug expenses.

Climate change: $500 billion for climate mitigation, largely via clean energy tax credits. This is the largest federal investment ever made in clean energy.

Increase the limit of State and Local Tax Deductions from $10,000 to $80,000

It appeared that the bill would pass for most of Thursday and Friday. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leaders, and a few other holdouts reached an agreement.

They included a small number of Democrats who demanded immigration language be added to the bill, a Northeast group of legislators opposed to the lower SALT deduct cap and a third group of moderates who refused support Medicare's broad powers to negotiate prescription drug price.

Leaders and members came to a compromise in each case. However, a dozen moderates found it unacceptable that there was no CBO score.