After hearing input from all sides and negotiating in good faith with Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, congressional leadership and a broad swath of Congress members, President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a framework for his Build Back Better Act.
The president said he’s confident this is a framework that can pass both houses of Congress, and he looks forward to signing it into law.
He has called on Congress to take up the bill — in addition to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — as quickly as possible.
“When enacted, this framework will set the United States on course to meet its climate goals, create millions of good-paying jobs, enable more Americans to join and remain in the labor force, and grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out,” the president asserted.
Specifically, the Build Back Better Act will count as the most transformative investment in children and caregiving in generations, the White House said.
Administration officials insist that the framework would save most American families more than half of their spending on childcare, deliver two years of free preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old in America, give more than 35 million families a major tax cut by extending the expanded Child Tax Credit, and expand access to high-quality home care for older Americans and people with disabilities.
The plan would also count as the largest effort to combat climate change in American history. The framework will cut greenhouse gas pollution by well over one gigaton in 2030, reduce consumer energy costs, give our kids cleaner air and water, create hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs, and advance environmental justice by investing in a 21st-century clean energy economy — from buildings, transportation, industry, electricity, and agriculture to climate-smart practices across our lands and waters.
Build Back Better also would spur the biggest expansion of affordable health care coverage in a decade. The framework reduces premiums for more than 9 million Americans by extending the expanded Premium Tax Credit, deliver health care coverage to up to 4 million uninsured people in states that have locked them out of Medicaid, and help older Americans access affordable hearing care by expanding Medicare.
Administration officials called the plan the most significant effort to bring down costs and strengthen the middle class in generations.
Former President Barack Obama agreed.
“In a country as large and diverse as ours, progress can often feel frustrating and slow, with small victories accompanied by frequent setbacks. But once in a while, it’s still possible to take a giant leap forward,” Obama wrote in a statement. “That’s what the framework announced today represents. It’s a testament to President Biden and Democrats in Congress who have worked tirelessly to forge this agreement, and to the activists and ordinary Americans who have fought for years, sometimes longer, to bring the America we know closer to the America we believe in.”
Obama noted that the framework allows families everywhere to afford childcare, and millions of children will get a stronger start through universal preschool. He said historic investments in clean energy would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and help America to lead the world once again in the fight against climate change.
“Millions of Americans will gain access to health care, and millions more will save money on their premiums,” Obama said. “And we’ll pay for all of it by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay more of their fair share in taxes.”
The framework makes the single largest and most comprehensive investment in affordable housing in history, expand access to affordable, high-quality education beyond high school, cut taxes for 17 million low-wage workers by extending the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, and advance equity through investments in maternal health, community violence interventions, and nutrition, in addition to better preparing the nation for future pandemics and supply chain disruptions.
It also improves and reform “our broken immigration system consistent with the Senate’s reconciliation rules,” the White House noted.
“And it is fully paid for and will reduce the deficit by making sure that large, profitable corporations can’t zero out their tax bills, no longer rewarding corporations that shift jobs and profits overseas, asking more from millionaires and billionaires, and stopping rich Americans from cheating on their tax bills,” the administration said in a statement. “Under this historic agreement, nobody earning less than $400,000 per year will pay a penny more in taxes.”
Mary Kay Henry, international president of the Service Employees International Union, said essential workers have been unwavering in their demands to invest in working families of all races.
“With the framework announced today, President Biden has taken an important step to build an economy that works for all of us,” Henry said. “This is a commitment to working people, with a historic investment in home care workers and care services, major progress on climate justice, essential protections for immigrants, and other meaningful investments for America’s working families.
“The inclusion of a first-of-its-kind investment in home care will raise wages, ensure a voice on the job for millions of home care workers — the Black, Latina, Asian Pacific Islander, Indigenous, and immigrant women hit hardest by the pandemic — and expand affordable, quality care for America’s seniors, people with disabilities and others who need it,” she said.