The Senate’s top Democrat on Tuesday doubled down on a goal of passing President Joe Biden’s sweeping social-spending bill before Christmas, as Biden took to the road to talk up the job creation he expects from the bipartisan infrastructure law.
“Before we hit Christmas Day, it is my goal to have the Senate take action to debate and pass President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said.
With congressional Democrats eager to move on the next piece of his agenda, Biden is scheduled to tour Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minn., on Tuesday. He’ll speak about how the infrastructure /zigman2/quotes/200238288/composite PAVE +1.45% law “will deliver for the American people, create good-paying union jobs, and lower prices by improving the infrastructure for our supply chains,” according to the White House. The college offers worker-training programs.
Biden’s trip comes as he is facing new worries over the omicron variant of the coronavirus, and persistent inflation concerns. Testifying in the Senate on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that with the economy “very strong” and “high” inflation pressures, it makes sense for Fed officials to accelerate the taper of asset purchases. Losses for U.S. stocks deepened after Powell’s comments, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.29% falling about 600 points.
The Build Back Better plan passed the House on Nov. 19, and is expected to undergo some major changes in the Senate. The package would create universal preschool, extend more-expansive Affordable Care Act subsidies, fund clean-energy programs and provide tax credits for electric vehicles /zigman2/quotes/208911460/composite F -1.26% /zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite GM -1.20% of as much as $12,500.
The Biden administration has said that the plan would help ease inflation, while Republicans are attacking Biden over rising prices and making them a campaign issue.
Schumer’s recommitment to pass the roughly $2 trillion bill in less than a month comes as lawmakers are facing deadlines to both keep the government running and raise the nation’s borrowing limit. The federal government will partially shut down after midnight Friday without a stopgap budget, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has told Congress that maneuvering room to avoid default would run out soon after Dec. 15 if the debt limit isn’t increased.