The Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget-reconciliation bill is now under consideration in Congress. A key piece of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda, the Build Back Better Act would advance important Democratic priorities in the areas of health care, taxation, education, and energy.
It would provide subsidies for more Americans to get Medicaid coverage. It would allow Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices, while expanding the program to provide hearing, vision, and dental benefits. In the education sector, the bill includes provisions for universal pre-kindergarten and tuition-free community college. It would guarantee twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave to most working Americans and make the temporary child tax credit permanent. It would make in-home health care more affordable, while also increasing the pay of caregivers. It would combat global warming with subsidies for renewable energy and new penalties for companies that pollute. Finally, it would address the nation’s housing crisis with new funding for public housing, housing vouchers, and investments in the construction of affordable housing.
Taken together, these policies have the potential to make real improvements in the lives of many Americans. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a major supporter of the Build Back Better Act, called it “the most consequential piece of legislation for working people in the modern history of this country.”
To pay for its massive spending increases, the bill proposes $2.9 trillion worth of tax increases for corporations and wealthy Americans. These would have the effect of undoing most of President Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, as well as closing loopholes that mainly benefit the rich.