The Capitol Hill

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives may vote on the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill (BIF). 

The House proceedings began at 8:00 a.m. (Eastern) this morning, but negotiations to get hold-out lawmakers to a “yes” vote are ongoing. If Speaker Pelosi proceeds, the House will vote first on the BBBA before considering the BIF. Once the BIF passes, it will go straight to the President of the United States for signature since it already passed the Senate some time ago. 

The BBBA is a sweeping piece of legislation that will have a broad impact across American society. It includes more than $550 billion to address climate change; four weeks of paid family and medical leave; universal preschool for 3- and 4-years olds; an extension of the Child Tax Credit; Medicare expansion to cover hearing programs; Medicare will be able to negotiate price reductions for some prescription drugs; and expanded home health care and Obamacare Medicaid subsidies. It’s paid for by a minimum tax on corporations and tax increases on wealthy Americans, as President Biden promised during the campaign, as well as the hiring of thousands of new IRS agents to help better enforce current tax laws, among a myriad of other tax increase proposals.

Once the BBBA passes, the bill will go to the Senate where it is expected to be substantially rewritten. To begin, after the BBBA passes the House, it will need to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), the official scorekeepers for the spending and tax provisions, respectively. Then, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough and her staff will need to “scrub” the bill to see if it comports with the Byrd Rule, which controls the reconciliation process. There will be a vote-a-rama, and Senate Republicans can be expected to offer potentially thousands of amendments. Then, at some point, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will have to get it across the finish line for final passage. If the amended bill passes the Senate, it will then be sent back to the House for consideration.

There’s no deadline to complete action, but if Congress is able to pass the final reconciliation package by Christmas and send it to President Biden for signature, that will be a major accomplishment. Remember: 

  • Both the House and senate are out next week.
  • The week of November 22 is Thanksiving.
  • When Congress returns the first week in December, government funding runs out and the debt limit may need to be increased.

The end of the year is coming quickly. The longer it takes to get the BBBA through the Senate, the harder it will be for the Democrats to get this bill enacted. President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Schumer, who have more than a century of Congressional experience between them, know this very well. 

Michael Best Strategies will keep you informed as this tumultuous process unfolds. You can also read the MBS alert from November 4.

Stay tuned!

Below are the links to all of the most up-to-date documents for both the BBBA and the BIF.

Build Back Better Act (BBBA)

Build Back Better Act Committee Fact Sheets

Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (BIF)

Michael Best Strategies (Strategies) helps companies accelerate their success through a combination of strategic business consulting, lobbying, government relations, public affairs, and communications. The firm has thrived by providing a diverse team of professionals with the experience, skills, and relationships necessary to help each client achieve their goals more quickly and fully.