House passes Biden's massive spending bill

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 2:29 PM ET, Fri November 19, 2021
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12:31 p.m. ET, November 19, 2021

The spending bill is expected to undergo major revisions in the Senate

From CNN's Clare Foran, Kristin Wilson and Daniella Diaz

The Build Back Better bill is expected to undergo major revisions in the Senate as Democrats who have expressed concerns over aspects of the package are likely to demand significant changes.

That would then require the House to vote again — on a final version of the legislation — in the coming weeks before it goes to President Biden's desk.

Senate Democrats need all 50 members of their caucus to support the bill in order to pass it under a budget process they are using to advance the measure without GOP votes known as reconciliation. That makes the task for Democrats particularly difficult since it means there can be no defections and passage will require total unity.

In an early sign of the impending efforts to change the bill, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said in a statement after the House vote that the Senate will "strengthen" the bill.

"I applaud Democrats in the House of Representatives for uniting to pass the Build Back Better Act. The Senate has an opportunity to make this a truly historic piece of legislation. We will listen to the demands of the American people and strengthen the bill," Sanders tweeted.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement after the House vote that the Senate "will act as quickly as possible" to take up the legislation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi downplayed the potential for significant changes to the legislation in the Senate.

"Ninety-some percent of the bill was written together, House, Senate, White House. There were some differences at the end, and we'll deal with those as we go forward," Pelosi said at a press conference after the House vote.

"We'll see where we need to, shall we say, reconcile our differences, but at the end of the day we will have a great bill," she said.

Read up on what the Democrats' sweeping social spending plan might include once passed here

11:33 a.m. ET, November 19, 2021

House Democrat: "Everybody's determined" to send spending bill to Biden's desk before Christmas

Rep. Debbie Dingell speaks at a press conference at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on November 2.
Rep. Debbie Dingell speaks at a press conference at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on November 2. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Senior Whip Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan, expressed confidence that the sweeping $1.9 trillion spending bill will be passed in Congress before Christmas. 

“I think that everybody's determined to make that happen,” she said on CNN.

Dingell said she spoke with President Biden when he went to Michigan this week, and he told her he has spent nearly 100 hours speaking with moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin this year. 

“I think the President will continue to work very closely with the two senators,” Dingell said, referring to Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who have pushed back against elements of the bill.

Dingell said that she doesn’t think there will be huge alterations to the Build Back Better Act to get it through the Senate. 

“Most of the programs in there will be as we know it,” she said. “There’ll probably be some discussion on taxes, paid family leave. But I think the bill as we see it will be very close to what we see cross the finish line.” 

When asked how Democrats will sell it to the American people amid inflation worries, Dingell said, “We do know that we got to do a better job of telling people what's in this bill.”

She added that House members will hold 1,000 events in the next few weeks to promote the bill to Americans. 

10:47 a.m. ET, November 19, 2021

Progressive caucus chair says she "feels very good" on how spending bill will return from Senate

From CNN's Sonnet Swire 

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal speaks with reporters outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, on November 18.
Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal speaks with reporters outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, on November 18. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal said she “feels very good about” the spending bill and that it will return from the Senate looking much like it does now, despite not being given assurances from Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema as she said she wanted.

“There was a framework that was agreed to,” Jayapal said on MSNBC minutes after the Build Back Better Act passed the House. “The vast majority of this bill is pre-conferenced with Sens. Manchin and Sinema. I have had my own conversations with them, but this is, again, a place where President Biden has shown tremendous leadership.”

“Now, there are a few things that aren’t pre-conferenced," she added. "We’ll have to work those out, but I believe, through my own conversations with those senators, as well as the President’s own commitment that he is confident that we can get 51 votes, we’re going to get this done and get it done before Christmas, hopefully in the first weeks of December. And people are going to see once again that government’s got your back — that Democrats in the House, the Senate and the White House delivered for them.”

Jayapal did not elaborate on what in the bill was not pre-conferenced.

11:39 a.m. ET, November 19, 2021

Top House Democrats say "historic" spending bill will affect generations of Americans

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a press conference after the House passed the Build Back Better Act at the Capitol on November 19.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a press conference after the House passed the Build Back Better Act at the Capitol on November 19. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top House Democrats spoke to reporters after voting to pass President Biden's sweeping spending bill.

"Today, we had the honor of participating in passing legislation for the people to build back better. As I always say, with women, for the children," Pelosi said.

She lauded Biden, saying that while the infrastructure bill was "was very, very important," it "was not the sum total of his vision."

Pelosi said she is most excited about family medical leave in this legislation.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called the Build Back Better Act a "historic piece of legislation."

"This bill will speak for itself to millions and millions and millions and millions of Americans whose lives will be made more secure, more richer in terms of quality of life, whose educational opportunities will be greater, and whose job opportunities will be greatly enhanced. And America's competitiveness in the world will be heightened for the 21st century," Hoyer said.

"It's big win for the people, for the average working men and women of America, for those who struggle every day and hope that somebody is on their side, somebody is listening to their pain and their struggle and their challenge," Hoyer added. "This bill is an answer."

Majority Whip James Clyburn said he thinks the act, combined with the infrastructure package and the American Rescue Plan Act, will address issues that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed in the US.

"I always talk about this being a great country. But the fact that we have not allowed this greatness to be accessible and affordable for all of our citizens, these three pieces of legislation accomplish that in a big way," he said.

10:27 a.m. ET, November 19, 2021

Biden applauds "giant step forward" with Build Back Better passage

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Biden applauded the House's passage of the Build Back Better Act Friday in a statement released by the White House, calling it a “giant step forward” for his agenda. 

“I thank Speaker Pelosi and the House leadership and every House member who worked so hard and voted to pass this bill. For the second time in just two weeks, the House of Representatives has moved on critical and consequential pieces of my legislative agenda,” Biden said in a statement. 

He continued, “Now, the Build Back Better Act goes to the United States Senate, where I look forward to it passing as soon as possible so I can sign it into law.” 

 

10:26 a.m. ET, November 19, 2021

No Republicans voted for the spending bill. Only one Democrat voted against it. 

From CNN's Clare Foran, Manu Raju and Morgan Rimmer

The final tally of the spending bill vote was 220 to 213.

Rep. Jared Golden of Maine was the only Democrat to vote against the bill and no Republicans voted for it.

Golden announced ahead of the final House vote that he would vote against the bill, citing the tax provision.

"Many of my colleagues argue this major line item is worth accepting to pass the rest of the bill," Golden said in a statement to the Bangor Daily News. "I disagree: the SALT giveaway in the Build Back Better Act is larger than the child care, pre-K, healthcare or senior care provisions of the bill."

Golden did not rule out voting for the final package in the future.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the legislation against criticism that wealthy Americans will benefit disproportionately as a result of the provisions.

10:27 a.m. ET, November 19, 2021

Here's what's in the Build Back Better Act Democrats just passed in the House

From CNN's Clare Foran, Manu Raju and Morgan Rimmer

Rep. Katherine Clark, right, hugs House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the House passage of President Joe Biden's spending bill at the Capitol on November 19.
Rep. Katherine Clark, right, hugs House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the House passage of President Joe Biden's spending bill at the Capitol on November 19. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The Build Back Better Act represents a central part of President Biden's policy agenda and an attempt by congressional Democrats to go at it alone without GOP support to enact a major expansion of the social safety net.

The House and Senate recently passed, and Biden then signed into law, a separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, which marked a major legislative achievement for both parties.

The Build Back Better Act is an effort by Democrats to build on that investment in traditional infrastructure by making extensive investments to ramp up social programs and address the climate crisis.

Among its many provisions, the legislation would create a universal pre-K program, extend the enhanced child tax credit and expand access to health care, affordable housing and home care for seniors.

Democrats argue that the provisions in the bill are urgently needed and will widely benefit Americans. Republicans, meanwhile, have decried the legislation as a reckless and partisan tax and spending spree.

The Congressional Budget Office released its final scoring for the bill early Thursday evening, estimating that the package "would result in a net increase in the deficit totaling $367 billion," according to a summary.

But the White House has worked to make the case that the bill will be fully paid for, despite the CBO analysis showing a shortfall.

The CBO analysis does not include revenue from tighter IRS enforcement. The CBO estimated earlier that would raise $207 billion.

The White House argues that increased IRS enforcement would actually raise more than what the CBO projects, meaning the bill would be fully paid for in their estimate.

Read more about the legislation here.

9:59 a.m. ET, November 19, 2021

House Republicans call for a motion to reconsider

House Republicans called for a motion to reconsider after President Biden's spending bill was passed on Friday.

This is a protest vote by the GOP, asking the House to undo the vote on the bill. 

It is set to fail.

9:57 a.m. ET, November 19, 2021

The lawmakers will now head home for Thanksgiving 

After the House passed President Biden's sweeping spending bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, the lawmakers will now head home for Thanksgiving.

The Senate is already out.

The bill will head to the Senate when lawmakers return, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he hopes to have it on the floor by Christmas, putting it on a tight timeline even in the best of circumstances, CNN reporter Jessica Dean explained.