On Wednesday evening, Democrats released another revised draft of the Build Back Better Act. The further refinements were the product of nearly a week of intense negotiations to address outstanding issues and satisfy the demands of holdout lawmakers. You can read the updated text here and a section-by-section summary here.
Highlights of the major new additions include:
- Adding back in four weeks of paid family and medical leave;
- Raising the cap on the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) from $10,000 to $72,500;
- Allowing the government to negotiate to lower prescription drug prices for some of Medicare’s costliest drugs; and
- Immigration provisions, such as five-year work permits for undocumented immigrants, access to certain benefits and identification, and temporary protections from deportation.
There are other small tweaks to a number of provisions as well. Michael Best Strategies is still reviewing the full document for the latest changes.
The trillion dollar question remains whether Democrats can muster the votes. As a reminder, they can afford to lose no votes in the Senate and only three in the House (that number will soon be four when a trio of new Representatives are sworn in). However, each of the new additions highlighted above should resolve key demands for significant groups of holdouts, so the number of no votes is surely dwindling. The Democratic leadership in the House has expressed a desire to put the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act up for a vote today. Nevertheless, they could be stymied still if the “whip count,” the poll of Members’ voting intentions, continues to come up short. For instance, a group of five moderate Democrats have said they want 72 hours to review the final text, as well as a budget score from the Congressional Budget Office. Others have reportedly privately expressed a desire to move more slowly in light of Tuesday’s elections in Virginia and New Jersey.