House Narrowly Passes Biden BBB Act, Senate Uncertainty Remains


It’s now up to the U.S. Senate and key moderate Democrats there what to do with the near-party-line House-passed Biden “Build Back Better” social spending, tax, and climate bill. House liberals and moderates ended their months-long feud to pass with no GOP votes, the president’s “Build Back Better” bill opposed by the American Farm Bureau for its cost and tax hikes.

But the fate of the more than two-trillion-dollar package that includes billions in funding for Ag conservation, forestry, research, and rural development, now rests with the Senate, and moderates Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kirsten Sinema of Arizona. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell told reporters recently.

“I think we all know, and I think the House knows, as well, that Manchin and/or Sinema are going to write the bill.  And then, I would observe, this seems to be quite a challenging exercise for them. I’m glad it is. This is a bill America does not want and does not need.”

Not the view of Hill Democrats, who argue the measure’s massive new spending on healthcare, education, and climate change is “historic” and “transformative.”

But Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer says the bill must first be reviewed by the Senate Parliamentarian and the Congressional Budget Office, which has now scored the bill’s cost.

“You have to have a CBO score to go into the…let me go over the timing. So, first, there is the ‘scrub,’ the ‘privileged scrub.’ You can’t do that ‘til the whole bill is ready. That takes about a week because it’s a two-thousand-page bill. But we hope, hope, hope to begin debate on it after the parliamentary scrub, and then, of course, there are the Byrd rule contests, as well.”

Referring to challenges if the bill isn’t paid for with offsets.  And the new CBO score finds the bill will add $367 billion to the deficit over 10 years, though the CBO did not figure savings from increased IRS tax enforcement.

The Parliamentarian will also decide whether the bill’s immigration reforms are budget-related, something she’s already ruled against twice. And then, if the Senate passes its version, the House will decide whether to accept or change it.