Update: The House has delayed a vote on President Biden's spending bill until Friday. The move comes after House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy delayed proceedings with what the New York Times calls the longest continuous House speech since 1909, clocking in at 8 hours and 32 minutes. "Personally I didn’t think I could go this long," McCarthy said as he prepared to wrap up around 5am. Hours prior, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told lawmakers go home and return to the chamber at 8am Friday for the vote. Our original story from Thursday follows:
After receiving cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, House Democrats headed toward a vote Thursday night on President Biden's social spending and climate package. The nonpartisan agency put a price tag on the bill late in the day, saying it would increase the federal deficit roughly $160 billion over the next 10 years, the New York Times reports. That's a bit more than Democrats were predicting, but not enough to scare off support for the package. Debate began in the evening, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a vote would follow, per the AP.
The CBO analysis found that the package would raise the deficit $367 billion over a decade before the savings and revenue-raising parts of the legislation are counted. After the figures were released, per the Washington Post, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued a statement saying, "Build Back Better is fully paid for." Democrats spent the day pointing out the many things the spending of between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion over the next 10 years would do. "We have a chance to redefine our commitment to the American people and to move toward a more just, equitable and perfect union," said Rep. Jimmy Gomez.
Pelosi listed provisions that Democrats in both houses have agreed to, including universal prekindergarten, help with child care costs, controls on prescription drug prices, and home health care for older people. Medicare would add hearing benefits, and scores of efforts to fight climate change would be funded. Billions would go to the Forest Service to reduce the effects of wildfires, and $73 billion would go toward modernizing the electricity grid so that it could carry renewable energy. The package would go to the Senate next, where parts of it face more opposition. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to have a vote before the end of the year. (Read more Build Back Better Act stories.)