Build Back Better Act (Budget Reconciliation Bill) Summary – Updated January 2022
Negotiations have stalled between the White House and U.S. Senate Democrats on President Biden’s ambitious Build Back Better Act (BBBA), which passed the House of Representatives on November 19th. The BBBA contains a majority of President Biden’s social spending agenda and can be passed by simple majorities in each chamber using a tool called budget reconciliation. The omnibus legislative package has seen many changes from its original $3+ trillion Democratic wish-list to the most recent iteration that was altered to appease both centrist and far-left Democrats in the House. This version of the BBBA had a $1.9 billion price tag and contained the re-inclusion of four weeks of Paid Family and Medical Leave, an increase to the State and Local Tax Deduction, and immigration provisions.
Political insiders believed the Senate would remove the aforementioned provisions included by the House and then pass the bill early in 2022. In a surprise to many, Senator Joe Manchin, one of a few centrist Democrats opposed to a large spending package, voiced the most concern over the extension of the enhanced Child Tax Credit. Sen. Manchin spoke publicly about his concerns with the BBBA, essentially killing the bill before it could receive a vote on the Senate floor.
After much back-and-forth between Sen. Manchin and the White House, it appears there is only a slim chance that the BBBA, as previously constituted, will be passed into law. The White House is seeking to reset negotiations and offer an even slimmer version of the bill by scrapping expensive provisions and/or imposing stricter caps on social safety net programs. Another possible path forward is to pass individual bills for the more popular provisions of the BBBA, which would require ten Republican votes in the Senate.
You can read the previous version of the BBBA proposal by subject and section in the new bill according to U.S. House Rules Committee staff. We will continue to monitor the federal landscape for legislation pertaining to lowering the cost of childcare, universal pre-k, CHIP permanency, maternal mortality research funding and the mandatory Medicaid postpartum extension, Career & Technical Education funding, and lead remediation.