The House began debate today on the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act, with a vote on the package likely tonight or tomorrow. The timing of the vote depends on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) release of the remaining pieces of its cost analysis.
Moderate House Democrats have communicated to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that they want a complete score from CBO for the BBB Act as well as assurances the bill will be pre-conferenced with the Senate. Another issue complicating a floor vote is the completion of the “privilege scrub” of the House bill. Senate parliamentarians are reviewing the legislation to see if it complies with the Senate’s Byrd rule which applies to consideration of reconciliation bills. Any needed changes would be included in a manager’s amendment that House Democrats want finished this afternoon.
House Democrats were celebrating CBO cost estimates released yesterday for the education and labor sections of the BBB Act. According to CBO, the Democrats’ plan for universal preschool for three and four-year-olds will cost $109 billion over the next 10 years, and a provision for capping child care costs for families making $300,000 or less is projected to cost $273 billion. Democrats had estimated these two proposals would cost a combined $390 billion, so CBO’s score came in more than $8 billion lower than expected, according to Punchbowl News.
Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA) said the CBO analysis “shows that the Build Back Better Act makes historic investments in lowering costs for working families and helping Americans secure good-paying jobs. This proposal will make child care affordable for families, secure universal preschool, help more students access healthy school meals, lower the cost of life-saving prescription drugs, and expand opportunities by investing in higher education and high-quality job training programs.”
House Republicans had a completely opposite take on the spending proposed in the BBB Act. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the ranking member on Education and Labor, said, “The CBO report has confirmed what we already expected – Democrats have been hiding the true cost of this monstrosity,” Foxx said. “The American people are concerned about the national debt, our exploding federal deficit, and skyrocketing inflation. Yet Democrats are pushing forward, full steam ahead, disastrous consequences be damned.”