(The Center Square) – Congressional Democrats passed a $1.75 trillion social spending plan Friday, putting the bill’s fate in the hands of a deeply divided Senate.
The bill funds universal pre-kindergarten, climate change spending, Obamacare subsidies, an extension of the monthly child tax credit payment and more wide ranging spending items. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke more than eight hours on the House floor overnight to delay the vote until Friday morning, but afterward it passed 220-213 along party lines with one Democrat opposed.
“We are very excited for what it does for the children, for the families,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a press conference after the bill’s passage.
The vote comes after the the Congressional Budget Office published an official cost estimate Thursday for President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" plan and reported that the spending will increase the federal budget deficit, contrary to the administration's previous claims.
"CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would result in a net increase in the deficit totaling $367 billion over the 2022-2031 period, not counting any additional revenue that may be generated by additional funding for tax enforcement," the group said.
Now the bill heads to the Senate, where Democrats cannot afford to lose a single vote. U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have so far been hesitant to support the plan. What they decide now will likely determine the fate of the legislation.
Republicans have remained highly critical of the plan, and none are expected to vote in favor of the spending bill. They point to the increased deficit, tax hikes, problems with increased IRS enforcement, and the rising inflation, which occurs in part because of federal debt spending.
"And 'this will reduce inflation'? Nonsense," Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said on the House floor. "Even the President's own favorite analyst Moody's admits Americans ought to brace for higher prices for the next decade because of this bill and the infrastructure and the COVID stimulus bill. But there is more than just nonsense in this bill. They are dangerous provisions dealing with the IRS."
The White House, though, heralded the bill's passage.
"Well, the President would have loved to have seen — seen his entire original proposal passed," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing Friday. "But he also knows from having served 36 years in the Senate, that’s not how it goes. He’s somebody who governs from the position of 'compromise' not being a dirty word. He sees consensus as the way you get things done, and that’s certainly how we’re going to approach the next few weeks as well."