President Joe Biden announced on Thursday his latest proposal for the Build Back Better Act, which has a price tag of $1.75 trillion – a significant drop from the original $3.5 trillion deal.
Included in the plan are expansions for programs such as universal free preschool, school lunches, as well as expanded Medicaid and Medicare coverage, and expanded tax credits for earned income, healthcare premiums, and childcare.
The plan does not include paid family and medical leave, prescription drug pricing provisions, free community college or vision and dental Medicaid coverage, which are issues Democrats have proposed.
The administration maintains that the plan won’t cost anything due to measures also proposed to offset the cost. Those measures include increasing taxes on corporations and “billionaires and millionaires,” reducing their tax credits and more.
According to a White House official, Biden will present the framework of the Build Back Better Act to the House Democratic Caucus and will call for its passage, as well as the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“The President believes the framework will earn the support of all 50 Democratic senators and pass the House. This morning, the President will make the case for this framework to House Democrats and call for its passage, as well as the passage of the groundbreaking bipartisan infrastructure deal,” a White House official told reporters, CNN reported.
Officials said Biden plans to pressure Democrats into passing each bill “when it comes up for a vote because of the stakes of the moment;” however, they also noted that Biden agreed to defer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the votes.
Administration officials and Democrat lawmakers have continued to claim Biden’s Build Back Better agenda is “fully paid for.”
“The cost of the Build Back Better Agenda is $0,” the White House tweeted last week. “The President’s plan won’t add to our national deficit and no one making under $400,000 per year will see their taxes go up a single penny. It’s fully paid for by ensuring big corporations and the very wealthy pay their fair share.”
When pressed by reporters to explain how a multi-trillion-dollar plan won’t cost anything, White House Press secretary gave a dismissive response, saying, “Because it won’t.”
During an appearance on Fox News on Thursday, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) mocked the president’s assertion that the massive spending bill will cost zero dollars.
“I think a majority of Americans are saying Republicans aren’t perfect but the Democrats are now crazy,” Kennedy said. “They think they can tax, spend and regulate us into prosperity and they think America can only be great through its federal government.”
“The federal government didn’t make America great. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things did,” he said. “You don’t make tax policy on the basis of class warfare and you don’t make tax policy solely on revenue. This is an extraordinarily complex economy. The greatest economy in all of human history. You sit down and make thoughtful changes. You also look for offsets if you are going to raise taxes here, you want to look for a way to cut taxes over here. They haven’t done any of that.”
“…somebody at the White House has been smoking the devil’s lettuce, okay? I mean, I’m just telling you. They think this is zero. Either that or they think the American people are morons and [they’ll] believe anything,” he added.