Update November 5, 2021: The vote on this bill has been postponed until November 15.
By Miriam Raftery
November 4, 2021 (San Diego) – The House of Representatives is expected to vote this Friday on the Build Back Better Act, President Joe Biden’s economic package aimed at rebuilding what the White House refers to as “the backbone of the country” – the middle class.”
What it covers
The bill includes expanded health care coverage, the largest-ever investment to combat climate change, and benefits for families, workers, and seniors.
It would reduce healthcare premiums under the Affordable Care Act, provide Medicare coverage for hearing, cap out-of-pocket spending for seniors on prescription drug pricing, allow Medicare to negotiate for less expensive medication costs. It also provides free and universal preschool, measures to reduce child care costs for parents and provide help with senior care costs.
There are funds to build affordable housing, provide rental assistance and help for first-time homebuyers. The bill also has provisions to lower costs of buying solar energy and electric vehicles, invest in clean energy and forestation projects, and in building clean energy products in the U.S.
Paid family and medical leave or workers have been added back into the latest version of the bill, after earlier being removed due to opposition by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.
Rep. Jacobs' supports bill, adds childcare protections
The latest version of the sweeping social safety net plan also includes language added by San Diego Congresswoman Sara Jacobs to expand eligibility for childcare subsidies to families earning up to 250% of a state’s median income in order to reflect the needs of people in high-cost areas such as San Diego.
“Childcare remains the top issue I hear about from constituents in my district,” says Jacobs in a press statement, adding she “fought tirelessly to make the expanded and improved Child Tax Credit permanent and to finally address the child care crisis that has long impacted families and care workers.”
She added that she will be "proud" to vote for the Build Back Better bill on the House floor.
Rep. Issa opposes bill
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-50) says the Build Back Better bill "does not build. It destroys." He argues, “Americans are paying more at the pump and seeing fewer goods on the shelf. Small businesses are struggling to hire employees and millions have given up looking for work. More illegal migrants than ever have breached our borders. Divisive vaccine mandates are forcing thousands of nurses, teachers, police officers and other first responders off their jobs. Hundreds of Americans woke up today still abandoned in Afghanistan, on the run, hiding their families, desperate to get home, and bewildered how President Biden betrayed them."
Issa claims the legislation ws negotiated in haste behind closed doors adding, "This may be the biggest and most expensive bill in history, but not one line on any page will solve this Administration’s nonstop crises nor help the Americans victimized by them. It will make it even worse."
How it would be paid for
The measure would be paid for by reversing 2017 tax cuts on the wealthy (those earning over $400,000 a year) and fund the IRS to pursue wealthy tax evaders, according to the White House website. The bill also also includes penalties for companies that ship jobs overseas.
If approved by the House of Representatives on Friday, the Build Back Better Act would next require Senate approval.
Updated November 5, 2021 to add comments from Rep. Issa received today.