The House’s passing of the Build Back Better Act Friday did not come easy for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). In addition to the months of negotiating, a vote on the bill saw a last minute holdout and an 8 1/2 hour filibuster two weeks later.
The original delay came two weeks ago, the same night the House passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill. President Biden signed that bill into law earlier this week.
The original plan was to vote on the Build Back Better Act at the same time. However, centrist Democrats withheld their support until the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office provided estimates that were consistent with preliminary numbers the White House and congressional tax analysts have provided. The CBO provided that estimate Thursday.
“CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would result in a net increase in the deficit totaling $367 billion over the 2022-2031 period,” the CBO said. However, the estimate is “not counting any additional revenue that may be generated by additional funding for tax enforcement.” In a Treasury Department statement released Thursday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the Build Back Better Act would “reduce our nation’s debt over time by generating more than $2 trillion through reforms that ask the wealthiest Americans and large corporations to pay their fair share.”
After the Build Back Better Act estimate came out and the vote was set, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy did all he could to prevent it from happening. He spoke on the House floor for 8 1/2 hours Thursday night into Friday morning.
“Every page of this new Washington spending shows just how irresponsible and out of touch the Democrats are to the challenges that America faces today,” Rep. McCarthy said in his remarks. “This is the single most reckless and irresponsible spending bill in our nation’s history.” As his speech went into the early morning hours, Republicans tweeted their support, telling McCarthy to hold the line.
“McCarthy is showing the American people what real leadership looks like. President Biden and Speaker Pelosi should take notes,” Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA) tweeted at 4:30 a.m. Friday. Meanwhile, Democrats described McCarthy as a rambling fool having a meltdown.
“We’re glad we’re not the only ones who can’t follow Minority Leader McCarthy’s meandering rant that has nothing to do with the Build Back Better Act,” Rep. Pelosi’s Press Office said in a blog post titled “Is Kevin McCarthy OK?”. “As he hopefully approaches the end, we’re all left wondering: does Kevin McCarthy know where he is right now?”