More than a year after President Joe Biden clinched the White House on a pledge to “build back better”, House Democrats voted to approve more than $2trn (€1.7trn) in spending initiatives that would overhaul federal health care, education, climate, immigration and tax laws.
he measure adopted yesterday amounts to a dramatic re-envisioning of the role of government in Americans’ daily lives.
It sets aside in some cases historic sums to aid workers, families and businesses, seeking to rewire the very fabric of an economy still recovering from the financial devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.
In bearing the name of the president’s 2020 campaign slogan, the successful 220-213 House vote on the Build Back Better Act marks the second legislative milestone for Democrats this month.
It comes about two weeks after they joined with Republicans to finalise a separate, sweeping bill to improve the nation’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and internet connections, delivering long-sought infrastructure investments that Mr Biden signed into law on Monday.
However, the more than $2trn bill – the final component in Mr Biden’s broader economic agenda – still must survive an even tougher political slog in the days ahead.
The House vote sends the tax-and-spending package next to the Senate, where moderates, including Democrat senator Joe Manchin, have long harboured scepticism about its price tag and policy scope and could further seek to pare back its provisions.
Republicans, meanwhile, have only hardened in united opposition to the bill.
The House-passed bill would pave the way for the greatest expansion of federal child care assistance in history, seeking to fund free, universal pre-kindergarten places for all American children aged three and four.
Targeting health care, the measure offers new Medicare benefits covering hearing services and empowers the government for the first time to negotiate some prescription drug prices, aiming to lower the costs pensioners pay for life-saving medicines such as insulin.
The bill would also set aside more than $550bn to combat climate change, promote greener energy and provide new perks for people who buy electric vehicles.
It would approve additional funding to rethink the immigration system, provide hungry Americans with access to food and promote affordable new housing nationwide. (© Washington Post)
© Washington Post