House Democrats are expected to vote this week on a nearly $2 trillion social-spending bill, as Republicans sharpen their criticism of the measure amid the highest inflation in three decades.
Called Build Back Better, the $1.75 trillion measure contains universal pre-K, electric-vehicle tax credits, paid leave and many more priorities touted by congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden. It would be paid for by a 15% corporate minimum tax, among other revenue-raisers.
Unlike the bipartisan infrastructure
bill Biden is scheduled to sign Monday, the social-spending bill has no Republican support — and parts of it face resistance from Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat. Approval by the House would send the measure to the Senate, where changes are all but certain.
A specific vote date in the House has not been set. A small group of centrist Democrats has demanded a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill before moving forward.
Lawmakers returning to Washington this week also face approaching deadlines on government funding and the U.S. debt limit. Federal government operations are funded through Dec. 3, and a partial shutdown would ensue if Congress doesn’t approve at least a stopgap budget.
The U.S. is also facing a debt-limit deadline around the same time, though at least one analysis suggests the government could run out of cash as late as mid-February if the borrowing limit isn’t raised.
Touting the bipartisan infrastructure bill in a visit to Baltimore last week, Biden insisted that his economic plans will help to tame inflation.
“Very soon we’re gonna see the supply chain start catching up with demand, so not only will we see more record-breaking job growth, we’ll see lower prices, faster deliveries as well,” the president said.
On Sunday, White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese acknowledged high U.S. inflation, but said the administration is working to address rising costs.
“That concern actually underscores why it’s so important to move forward on the Build Back Better bill that Congress is considering,” Deese said on ABC’s “This Week.” Deese added the bill would address costs Americans are facing in child care, housing and health care.
Republicans, meanwhile, have slammed Democrats’ plans.
“Biden’s trying to convince people that inflation will go away after he spends another $1.75 trillion that we don’t have,” said GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas in a tweet last week.