After weeks of back and forth, President Joe Biden released a new framework for his Build Back Better (BBB) agenda Thursday, which includes approximately $1.75 trillion of investments to combat climate change, extend health care coverage and alleviate child poverty, among other priorities.
"The Build Back Better framework will set the U.S. on course to meet our climate targets, create millions of good-paying jobs and grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out," Biden said Thursday.
The White House said the current iteration of the plan was made in concert with Sens. Krysten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who have been holdouts among Democrats in supporting previous plans that cost significantly more money but included provisions like paid family leave and free community college. Democrats need all 50 senators on board to pass legislation; no Republicans support the legislation.
The framework includes $1.75 trillion of infrastructure funding, and an additional $100 billion for immigration backlogs and expand legal representation at the border that is contingent upon a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian, bringing the total to $1.85 trillion.
Things are still changing and there is no guarantee that this will be the final version of the bill. In fact, progressives have already said they are dissatisfied with it. But for now, here are some of the provisions included in the bill.
Expanded child tax credit
Build Back Better extends the enhanced child tax credit (CTC) for one year. In 2023, assuming it is not extended again, it will revert to $2,000 per child from the current $3,000 to $3,600 cap.
One change was made permanent, however: Full refundability. This means the poorest families — those that don't typically earn enough money to file a tax return — will continue to qualify for the credit, a change that was made in this year's American Rescue Plan.
Separately from the CTC, the plan says it will support parents who are working, looking for work or participating in an education or training program, and who are making under 2.5 times their state's median income, by covering the cost of child care for children under 6 so that child care costs no more than 7% of a family's income.
The plan establishes universal and free preschool for more than 6 million 3- and 4-year-olds.
"Parents will be able to send children to high-quality preschool in the setting of their choice – from public schools to child-care providers to Head Start," a summary of the framework reads.
The largest part of the framework includes around $550 billion of investments in clean energy and other climate change initiatives, including:
- An enhancement of existing home energy and efficiency tax credits.
- An electrification-focused rebate program.
- A credit of up to $12,500 for U.S.-made, union-made electric vehicles.
Democrats say this is the "largest effort to combat the climate crisis in American history."
The framework allocates around $130 billion to expand Medicaid and reduce premiums for Affordable Care Act coverage. It estimates premiums for around 9 million ACA plan enrollees will fall by an average of $600 per year.
The plan provides uninsured individuals living in states that did not expand Medicaid $0 ACA premiums, to make health care more accessible.
It also expands Medicare coverage for hearing services, but not for dental or vision coverage.
The plan invests $150 billion in affordable housing provisions, including the construction and rehabilitation of more than 1 million affordable homes across the U.S. and investments in rental assistance and housing vouchers.
It also includes down payment assistance for first-generation homebuyers to purchase their first homes.
In addition to the provisions outlined above on climate change, health care, and more, the plan includes investments for elder care, Pell Grants and free school meals.
The current version includes a slew of tax changes to pay for the legislation, including:
- A surtax of 5% on personal income above $10 million, and 3% on income above $25 million.
- A 15% minimum tax on corporate profits of large corporations with over $1 billion in profits.
- A 1% tax on stock buybacks.
- A 50% minimum tax on foreign profits of U.S. corporations.
What's not included
Notably, paid leave is not part of this version of BBB. Democrats initially wanted to include 12 weeks of guaranteed paid family and medical leave for every U.S. worker, which was then scaled back to four weeks. Instead, no paid leave made it into the current version.
Medicare dental and vision benefits were left out, as well as Medicare drug pricing negotiations. Free community college was also cut from this version of the bill.
Democrats also nixed the Billionaires Income Tax, the details of which were unveiled Wednesday. This would have taxed unrealized gains of certain assets of around 700 of the richest taxpayers in the country and helped fund the legislation.
Clarification: An earlier version of this story included the $100 billion in immigration reform as part of the total amount of infrastructure funding.
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