President Joe Biden on Wednesday took a new tack on his sprawling social-spending and climate bill, saying Build Back Better would have to be split up. So, what would that look like?
“It’s clear to me that we’re going to have to probably break it up,” Biden said at a White House news conference marking his first year in office . The president listed clean energy /zigman2/quotes/205740995/composite ICLN +4.23% and early-childhood education as elements of the massive package that he believed could get support in Congress. And in an appearance on Bloomberg TV on Thursday morning, White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese expanded on what the administration believes can pass.
“The clean-energy provisions in this bill will not only make it easier and cheaper to deploy clean energy and address the climate crisis. It will reduce energy /zigman2/quotes/206420077/composite XLE +1.16% costs,” said Deese.
“The child-care provisions in this package will not only reduce child-care costs for families, but then help people get to work. The healthcare /zigman2/quotes/205918244/composite XLV +1.37% provisions will improve health for our families, but also lower costs. Those are all things that I think are practical, would address costs and are doable,” Deese said.
Build Back Better is stuck in Congress amid opposition to some of its elements from Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, both moderate Democrats. But Biden on Wednesday referenced the West Virginia senator directly, saying “Joe Manchin strongly supports early education, three and four years of age. Strongly supports that.” The Build Back Better bill that passed the House of Representatives in November would create a universal pre-K program and cap child-care costs for many families.
Biden suggested Wednesday, however, that monthly child tax credit payments would not renew.
Build Back Better also includes more than $500 billion for energy and environmental spending — another area Manchin has signaled support for.
“There’s a lot of good things in [the bill],” he told reporters on Capitol Hill earlier this month . I’ve always said, you know, we have a lot of money in there for innovation, technology, tax credits for basically clean technologies and clean environment.”
The House-passed bill also included expanded subsidies for health-insurance premiums and would cap costs for prescription drugs /zigman2/quotes/200345932/composite PJP +1.83% .
With midterm elections approaching in November, Biden and Democrats are under enormous pressure to deliver more results to voters, even as the president stresses wins like the infrastructure /zigman2/quotes/200238288/composite PAVE +2.68% law. At least one analyst on Thursday said something appeared probable.
“It’s more likely than not that some version of the Build Back Better Act (Triple-B) will pass, but we see it as being a healthcare-focused reconciliation vehicle that includes a clean energy package and possibly some pre-kindergarten components as well. But there will only be one bill, not several,” said James Lucier of Capital Alpha Partners, in a note.