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House passes Build Back Better bill after overnight delay

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House passes Biden's social spending plan
House passes Biden's social spending plan 02:07

The House passed the Build Back Better social spending plan Friday morning, after the vote, which was supposed to take place Thursday night, was delayed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's hourslong overnight floor speech. The bill passed 220-213 at 9:46 a.m. Friday, and afterwards, Democrats in the House could be heard chanting, "Nancy, Nancy, Nancy."

The legislation still faces hurdles in the Senate, where it's unclear whether moderate Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will agree to some of the provisions included by the House. In short, the debate over President Biden's signature plan to expand the social safety net isn't over yet. 

"The Build Back Better Act is fiscally responsible," Mr. Biden said in a statement. "It reduces the deficit over the long-term. It's fully paid for by making sure that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share in federal taxes. It keeps my commitment that no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in federal taxes. Leading economists and independent experts on Wall Street have confirmed that it will not add to inflationary pressures. Instead, it will boost the capacity of our economy and reduce costs for millions of families."

Pelosi also celebrated the bill's passage in the House. 

"This bill is monumental. It is historic," she told CBS News. "It is transformative. It is bigger than anything we have ever done."

McCarthy wrapped up his remarks at 5:10 a.m. Friday, eight hours and thirty-two minutes after he began, eclipsing the eight-hour-seven-minute mark set by Nancy Pelosi in a 2018 speech about the "DACA" program for immigrants. Only a handful of representatives were still in the chamber. The House adjourned a minute later and was to reconvene at 8 a.m. Friday.

Shortly after midnight, House Democratic leaders told members to go home and return Friday morning ror a vote on the bill. 

McCarthy's high-energy speech, featuring a wide variety of attacks on Democrats and Pelosi, the House speaker, capped off a busy evening on Capitol Hill. 

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate for the bill Thursday. Several moderate Democrats had said they wanted to wait for that score before they voted.

At least two of the moderates who were holding out for the CBO score said Thursday night that they would vote for the bill and another moderate, Congressman Henry Cuellar, of Texas, also indicated he would.

But Democrats' margin on the measure remained razor-thin. Representative Jared Golden, of Maine, was still expressing reservations and, with the Democrats' slim majority, they could only afford to lose three votes, since no Republicans were expected to support the bill. 

The CBO said it would increase the deficit by more than $367 billion over 10 years. But the estimate did not include the revenue that could be generated from increasing IRS enforcement, which the CBO suggested would be $207 billion.

Congress Budget
In this image from House Television, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, speaks on the House floor during debate on the Democrats' expansive social and environment bill on November 18, 2021. House Television via AP

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen welcomed the CBO's analysis. Noting that the Treasury Department estimates that the crackdown on tax evaders would raise $400 billion, she said in a statement that the combined CBO score, Joint Committee on Taxation estimates and her own department's analysis "make it clear that Build Back Better is fully paid for, and in fact will reduce our nation's debt over time by generating more than $2 trillion through reforms that ask the wealthiest Americans and large corporations to pay their fair share."

The CBO has been releasing estimates on individual components of the Build Back Better Act over the past few weeks, but did not address how much money the legislation would raise, or its cost, until Thursday.

Overall, the CBO estimates the legislation would result in spending $1.63 trillion. The office said changes to the tax code and other provisions would generate more than $1.26 trillion in revenue and suggested increased IRS enforcement would add $207 billion in revenue.

Some of the CBO figures have come in lower than Biden administration estimates. The cost of universal pre-K and affordable child care would be roughly $382 billion, the agency found, compared to the bill's line item figure of $400 billion. Prescription drug reforms would save nearly $300 billion — $50 billion more than the White House estimated. Other estimates were closer: Both put affordable housing-related costs at roughly $150 billion. And the CBO said expanding Medicare to include hearing would cost $36 billion, while the White House said it would be  $35 billion.

The CBO also estimated that a four-week paid leave included in the House version of the bill would cost $205 billion. That provision was not included in the revised White House framework because paid leave had been dropped from the bill but was later partially restored by lawmakers. 

The White House, which estimated its framework would cost $1.75 trillion, claims it would reduce the deficit over time, generating more than $2.1 trillion over 10 years.

After the House vote on Build Back Better, the bill will head over to the Senate, where the Democrats' 50-seat majority will surely lead to more changes.

Jack Turman and Brian Dakss contributed to this report.

 

Hoyer says the House will reconvene Friday for vote

Just after midnight Friday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the House would reconvene later Friday for the vote on Build Back Better. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was talking for several hours, delaying a vote. 

Hoyer said the House would recess when McCarthy finishes his remarks. 

A senior Democratic aide said McCarthy is "welcome to continue his raving as late into the night as he wants. The House will return and vote first thing Friday morning so the American people know heading into Thanksgiving week that House Democrats are fighting with President Biden to Build Back Better. We thank the Minority Leader for helping us maximize the coverage of our efforts."

By Zak Hudak
 

McCarthy says "I'm just getting geared up" as he is about to hit three hours speaking

About five minutes before Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's floor speech hit the three-hour mark, he said "I'm just getting geared up." 

By Zak Hudak
 

Pelosi's office calls McCarthy's speech a "temper tantrum" as he hits the two-hour mark

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement calling Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's lengthy speech on the floor as a "temper tantrum" and disputed some of his comments. Just after 10:30 p.m. ET, McCarthy's speech had lasted for more than two hours — and he was still going.

— Zak Hudak and Caroline Linton  

 

McCarthy's speech passes the 90-minute mark

Senate Minority Leader has been stalling the vote on Build Back Better by speaking on the floor. Just after 10 p.m. ET, McCarthy had passed the 90-minute mark. 

The Republicans also plan to introduce a motion to further debate Build Back Better. Although that motion is certain to fail, it will delay the passage further into the night.

Zak Hudak and Caroline Linton  

 

Ocasio-Cortez says "I did" when McCarthy says nobody elected Biden to be FDR

Senate Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is giving a lengthy speech on the floor ahead of the expected vote on Build Back Better. At one point, he quoted Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, saying "nobody elected Joe Biden to be FDR."

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shouted "I did!" and another Democrat said "me too!"

Ellis Kim and Caroline Linton  

 

Two moderate Democrats say they will support Build Back Better, but one writes in his local paper that he is a no

Representative Kurt Schrader said he, like fellow moderate Representative Stephanie Murphy, tweeted Thursday that he would be voting for Build Back Better. Schrader, like Murphy, had wanted to see the CBO score before committing to a vote.

Congressman Henry Cuellar of Texas, another moderate, nodded when asked if he would support it. Cuellar was not one of the moderates who signed the letter about the CBO score, but he is one of the more moderate Democrats in Congress.

But Representative Jared Golden of Maine, another moderate, told the Bangor Daily Times that he would not be voting for the bill, citing the SALT deduction.

"Many of my colleagues argue this major line item is worth accepting to pass the rest of the bill,"  Golden said in a statement to the Bangor Daily Times on Thursday night. "I disagree: the SALT giveaway in the Build Back Better Act is larger than the child care, pre-K, healthcare or senior care provisions of the bill."

With Democrats' narrow majority in the House, they can only afford to lose three votes unless any Republicans cross the aisle, which is unlikely.

Ellis Kim, Zak Hudak and Caroline Linton  

 

Yellen says CBO score, taxation estimates and her department analysis show "Build Back Better is fully paid for"

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen welcomed the CBO's analysis: noting that the Treasury Department estimates that the crackdown on tax evaders would raise $400 billion, she said in a statement that the combined CBO scores, Joint Committee on Taxation estimates and her own department's analysis "make it clear that Build Back Better is fully paid for, and in fact will reduce our nation's debt over time by generating more than $2 trillion through reforms that ask the wealthiest Americans and large corporations to pay their fair share."

 

Murphy, one of the moderate holdouts, says she will vote for Build Back Better

Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy from Florida, one of the moderate holdouts on Build Back Better, said she would be voting for it. She had said she wanted to see the full CBO score before committing to a vote.

"While I continue to have reservations about the overall size of the legislation—and concerns about certain policy provisions that are extraneous or unwise—I believe there are too many badly-needed investments in this bill not to advance it in the legislative process," Murphy said I will work with my Senate colleagues to improve this bill, and I hope to vote on—and enact—a more streamlined version of the bill once it returns from the Senate."

By Caroline Linton
 

White House says CBO score is "good news for Democrats"

The White House released toplines on the CBO's cost analysis, calling it "good news for Democrats." The White House highlighted that the savings from the prescription drug reforms came in at $300 billion compared to the White House's estimate of $250 billion.

The White House also continued to insist "that means the bill is fully paid for."

"As long understood, CBO's numbers on tax enforcement are lower than the Treasury's estimates. Democrats have long known and anticipated this – will not be an issue," the White House said.  

By Caroline Linton
 

CBO says Build Back Better Act will increase deficit by $367 billion over 10 years

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Thursday released its much anticipated cost estimate of President Biden's signature social spending plan, Build Back Better. The analysis — commonly referred to as the CBO score — said passage of the legislation would increase the deficit by more than $367 billion over ten years. But the estimate does not include the revenue that could be generated from increasing IRS enforcement. 

Over the past several weeks, the Congressional Budget Office had been releasing estimates on individual components of the Build Back Better Act, but the section dealing directly with how much money the legislation would raise as well as its total cost was not released until Thursday.

On Wednesday, the CBO estimated the legislation would include $1.63 trillion in spending. At the same time, changes to the tax code and other provisions would generate more than $1.26 trillion in revenue.

Some of the CBO figures have come in lower than what the Biden administration estimated. The cost of universal pre-K and affordable child care would cost roughly $382 billion, the agency found. Both estimates put affordable housing related costs at roughly $150 billion. Other measures like the cost estimate for expanding Medicare to include hearing was nearly identical, with the CBO saying $36 billion and the White House saying $35 billion.

The CBO also estimated that a four week paid leave included in the House version of the bill would cost $205 billion. That provision was not included in the revised White House framework. 

The White House has argued the legislation would be fully paid for and even claimed it would reduce the deficit over time, generating more than $2.1 trillion over 10 years.

By Sarah Ewall-Wice
 

Pelosi hints at vote Thursday night

In a letter to Democratic lawmakers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted that there could be a vote on Thursday night, after the CBO office releases its final score. The Rules Committee is meeting to discuss amending a rule that would make some technical changes to the bill so that it complies with Senate requirements.

After the Rules Committee meeting, there will be one hour of debate, a vote on the rule and then the remaining 20 minutes of debate on the bill, she said.  

"At the close of the debate, all that remains is to take up the vote – so that we can pass this legislation and achieve President Biden's vision to Build Back Better!" Pelosi wrote. 

If her timeline is followed, the vote on Build Back Better will be Thursday night. 

By Caroline Linton
 

CBO releases last IRS cost enforcement estimate, but it's only about half the revenue the Biden administration said it would generate

The Congressional Budget Office has released the last IRS cost estimate before it releases the full score. The CBO said passage of the legislation would increase spending by more than $411.5 billion. 

The CBO estimated the spending would generate $207 billion in new revenue, far less than the Biden administration claims. Earlier this week, CBO Director Phill Swagel explained ultimately the IRS will determine what additional resources are put toward. But he said research on how increased enforcement acts as a deterrence for tax evasion is mixed, so his office comes down closer to the middle on its impact, whereas others have taken more optimistic positions. 

By Sarah Ewall-Wice
 

Manchin spotted at the White House, but not for meetings

Senator Joe Manchin, one of the two Senate holdouts on Build Back Better was spotted at the White House on Thursday, but White House press secretary said he was not there for meetings.

Psaki told reporters that Manchin was there for the swearing in of Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

By Fin Gómez
 

Jayapal tweets "daily reminder that the agreement was never for a CBO score, just more fiscal information"

Representative Pramila Jayapal, the head of the progressive caucus, tweeted Thursday about the upcoming CBO score. Jayapal refused to vote for the infrastructure bill earlier this month along with five other progressives because the infrastructure bill and Build Back Better were initially supposed to be voted on together. 

"And daily reminder that the agreement was never for a CBO score, just more fiscal information--which has now been largely received. Let's get the vote done," Jayapal wrote.

By Caroline Linton
 

Pelosi says she hopes to move forward with a vote on Thursday

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday she hopes the lower chamber can move to a vote on the package known as the Build Back Better Act, later in the afternoon.  

"As we think of all of this progress, it's pretty exciting. This is historic, it is transformative, it will help us build back better with women and all those who have not previously had the full advantage," the speaker told reporters during her weekly press conference.

By Melissa Quinn
 

CBO says it will release score on Thursday

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Thursday will release its cost estimate known as the CBO score of President Biden's signature social spending plan, Build Back Better.

The Biden administration estimates tax provisions in the framework targeting corporations and the wealthy would bring in more than $2.15 trillion, and the legislation would be fully paid for. But a number of centrist Democrats in the House have said they won't vote for the $1.75 trillion bill until they know the CBO score.

The White House has already been preparing for a bad score, with deputy press secretary Andrew Bates on Wednesday saying that "there has been wide agreement on the part of everyone involved —  moderates, liberals, et cetera —  that CBO does not have experience analyzing revenue amounts gained from cracking down on wealthy tax cheats who are taking advantage of every honest taxpayer."

By Sarah Ewall-Wice
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