After weeks of combative debate, Democrats in the House of Representatives came together to push forward their expansive social and environmental bill to a vote of approval despite the lengthy objections of GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
The final version of the Build Back Better Act passed the House of Representatives with a near party-line vote of 220-213. A lone Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine voted against it. The Build Back Better Act’s price tag is estimated at $1.68 trillion dollars by the Congressional Budget Office who made its report on the 2,100-page bill after the vote took place. “If you are a parent, a senior, a child, a worker, if you’re an American, this bill’s for you,” House Speaker Pelosi said to the press about the benefits the bill will bring.
House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for the vote for final approval of the Build Back Better Act to take place on Thursday (November 19th), but it was delayed as Rep. McCarthy stood and delivered a speech that lasted eight and a half hours, making it the longest speech ever made in the House since Pelosi’s own speech demanding congressional action on immigration in 2018. During McCarthy’s speech, which saw him ramble and shout in a raspy voice as he stood and addressed the chamber, he issued numerous attacks against President Joe Biden and the Democrats with tenuous arguments centering on inflation and the cost of Thanksgiving dinners to his declaration of how he wished he’d have been able to afford a Tesla. The Democrats present soon grew bored, loudly talking during his speech and highlighting the divisions that have only starker since the events of January 6th and the censure of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) for tweeting a video portraying him attacking President Biden and killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY). Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) issued a tweet deriding McCarthy, saying: “McCarthy thinks he is a wit but so far he has proved he is only half right.”
The bill, which would expand Medicare and the Affordable Care Act greatly in addition to funding universal pre-K programs among other social safety boosts, is set to be voted on by the Senate where eyes are on Senators Joseph Manchin (D-W.Va) who has been vocal about the inclusion of paid leave for families in the bill and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).