WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after he voted to pass H.R. 5376 the Build Back Better Act.
“Thanks to President Biden’s vision and Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, today the House passed one of the most consequential pieces of legislation in our nation’s history. The Build Back Better Act will make transformational investments in communities across the country to improve the lives of our children and families.
“The Build Back Better Act represents an incredible opportunity to address the greatest existential threat of our time – climate change –while creating good-paying, unions jobs and building a sustainable, resilient economy. This bill is the largest investment to combat climate change that our nation has ever seen, with massive investments in clean energy and zero-emissions technology. The Biden-Harris Administration and Democrats in Congress have committed to making climate change a top priority and this legislation follows through on that commitment.
“This bill tackles some of the biggest issues facing individuals and families and helps grow our economy in a more equitable way, leveling the playing field for working families across the country. Build Back Better includes investments in, universal pre-k, affordable child care, an expanded child tax credit, and universal paid family and medical leave. This bill will also improve the health care system for millions of Americans by reducing premiums, lowering drug prices, and closing the Medicaid coverage gap. It makes significant investments in our workforce by making higher education more affordable, expanding workforce development and training programs, and enhancing worker protections. The bill will also help create a more equitable future by making large investments in affordable housing, alleviating the burden of rising costs of housing for countless people across the United States – including my constituents in the Puget Sound region. I am also pleased to see important immigration provisions included in this bill in an effort to keep all options on the table in the Senate for meaningful immigration reform. Crucially, these improvements to the lives of our families and communities are paid for by creating a fairer tax code – ensuring the wealthy and corporations finally pay their fair share.
“The negotiations and process to get to this point has certainly been challenging, and I appreciate the leadership of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Chair Jayapal to push for important policy priorities in the Build Back Better Act. Today’s passage of the Build Back Better Act in the House demonstrates the importance of the Democratic party coming together to deliver real results to the American people.    
“It is now time for the Senate to swiftly take up the Build Back Better Act so that Americans don’t have to wait any longer. Inaction by the Senate is not an option and I have faith in the President that he will continue to move the Build Back Better Act forward.”
White House: Build Back Better Homepage
Speaker Pelosi: Build Back Better Factsheet
BACKGROUND: The Details of the Build Back Better Act
Investments in Clean Energy and Combatting Climate Change
The Build Back Better Act will invest $555 billion in clean energy and climate programs, the largest single investment in our clean energy economy in history. As our economy moves toward electrification, these investments will help clean up all sectors including buildings, transportation, industry, electricity, and agriculture.
  • Clean Energy Tax Credits ($320 billion): Ten-year expanded tax credits for utility-scale and residential clean energy, transmission and storage, clean passenger and commercial vehicles, and clean energy manufacturing to meet President Biden’s goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 while creating good, well-paying jobs.
  • Resilience Investments ($105 billion): Investments and incentives to address extreme weather (wildfires, droughts, and hurricanes, including in forestry, wetlands, and agriculture), legacy pollution in communities, and establishing a Civilian Climate Corps.
  • Investments and Incentives for Clean Energy Technology, Manufacturing, and Supply Chains ($110 billion): Targeted incentives to spur new domestic supply chains and technologies, like solar, batteries, and advanced materials, while boosting the competitiveness of existing industries, like steel, cement, and aluminum.
  • Clean Energy procurement ($20 billion): Provide incentives for government to be purchaser of next gen technologies, including long-duration storage, small modular reactors, and clean construction materials.
  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund: Invests $29 billion in nonprofit, state, and local climate finance institutions that support the rapid deployment of low and zero-emissions technologies, including zero-emissions vehicles. At least 40 percent of investments from the und will be made in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
  • Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants: Provides $3 billion to community-led projects that address environmental and public health harms related to pollution and climate change, giving direct funding to communities most impacted by climate change and environmental injustice.
Investments in Children and Families that Grow the Economy’s Capacity
  • Universal Preschool for all 3- and 4-year Olds: Expand access to free high-quality preschool for more than 6 million children. This is a long-term program, with funding for six years.
  • Affordable High Quality Child Care: Limit child care costs for families to no more than 7% of income, for families earning up to 250% of state median income. It enables states to expand access to about 20 million children. This is a long-term program, with funding for six years.
  • Expanded Child Tax Credit:  Extend for one year the current expanded Child Tax Credit for more than 35 million American households, with monthly payments for households earning up to $150,000 per year. Make refundability of the Child Tax Credit permanent.
  • Comprehensive Paid Family and Medical Leave: Establishes the first ever universal paid leave benefit for all U.S. workers, giving all workers an opportunity to receive up to four weeks of paid leave for new parents, workers dealing with their own serious medical conditions, and those who need leave to care for a loved one.
Improving Health Care for Millions of Americans
  • Improving Affordability and Reducing Premium Costs: Extends the expanded Affordable Care Act premium tax credits through 2025. Experts predict that more than 3 million people who would otherwise be uninsured will gain health insurance.
  • Close the Medicaid Coverage Gap: Make the Affordable Care Act premium tax credits available through 2025 to 4 million uninsured people who live in states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Allow Medicare to cover the cost of hearing.  Establish a hearing benefit in Medicare, a crucial benefit to our seniors for a reasonable cost.
  • Reduce the costs of prescription drugs: Allows the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices for high-cost prescription drugs under Medicare, lowering drug costs for seniors. In addition, it sets a cap at $2,000 on the amount that seniors pay annually for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D. The Build Back Better Act also holds drug manufacturers accountable by imposing a penalty on them if they increase their prices faster than inflation and stops price gouging on insulin by limiting the costs to $35 per month for insulin for Americans with diabetes.  
  • Enhancing Maternal Health Equity: Improves maternal health outcomes for vulnerable populations by ensuring that all pregnant people on Medicaid can keep their health insurance for the first year postpartum, while also making significant public health investments to reduce inequities in maternal health outcomes and strengthen the maternal health workforce.
  • Making Permanent the Children’s Health Insurance Program: Permanently extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which will ensure low-income children will always have access to quality, affordable health insurance.
  • Expanding access to home and community-based services: Invests $150 billion to expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS) to older adults and individuals with disabilities, resolve the existing backlog to receive these services, and strengthen the HCBS workforce by enhancing protections and increasing pay.
Investing in Workers through Education and Workforce Development 
  • Making Higher Education More Affordable: Increases the maximum Pell Grant award by $550 for enrollment at public and private non-profit institutions of higher education, the cornerstone of financial support for low-income individuals accessing higher education. Expands eligibility for financial aid programs, including Pell Grants, to certain immigrants in the United States under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
  • Supporting HBCUs, HSIs, MSIs, and TCUs: Invests $6 billion to increase mandatory funding for Historically Black Colleges & Universities (“HBCUs”), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Minority Serving Institutions (“MSIs”), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (“TCUs”) and provides $3 billion for a new competitive grant program to improve the research capacity and infrastructure of HBCUs, MSIs, and TCUs.
  • Investing in Workforce Development and Training: Includes $20 billion in investments across the workforce development system, including community college workforce programs, sector-based training, and registered apprenticeships. Reauthorizes Trade Adjustment Assistant (TAA) programs to provide a critical lifeline to workers, firms, and communities that have been harmed by trade.
  • Supporting K-12 Education: Invests over $600 million in elementary and secondary education programs, including funding for educator training programs at HBUCs and the development of personnel to serve children with disabilities.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit for 17 Million Low-Wage Workers: Extends for one year the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers included in the American Rescue Plan, helping millions of workers stay out of poverty and increase their take-home-pay.
  • Enhances Worker Protections: Rebuilds and expands the capacity of worker protection efforts at the Department of Labor with a nearly $2 billion investment.
  • Expanding Access to Broadband: Invests $300 million to the Emergency Connectivity Fund, which gives schools and libraries the ability to provide students, teachers, and library patrons with Internet connectivity and connected devices. Provides $295 million to establish a program employing public-private partnerships to improve affordable broadband service in urban areas, specifically in communities of color and to low and middle-income consumers.
Alleviating the Housing Crisis
Invests $150 billion in housing affordability and reducing price pressures, and will go towards building, preserving, and improving more than 1 million affordable rental and single-family homes.
  • Repairing and Expanding our Public Housing Infrastructure: Provides $65 billion to fully address the capital needs backlog of public housing.
  • Housing Vouchers and Rental Assistance: Allocates $24 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers and supportive services, including set asides specifically for individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking.
  • Building and Preserving Affordable Homes: Provides $10 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to fund the construction, purchase, or rehabilitation of affordable homes for low-income people, and includes $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve over 150,000 new affordable, accessible rental homes for households with the lowest incomes.
  • Historic Expansion of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: Invests in affordable housing through a historic expansion of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) that is estimated to increase the number of affordable units by over 800,000 in the next decade. It better targets LIHTC investments for the most vulnerable by providing enhanced credits for certain projects serving extremely low-income tenants as well as certain tribal projects.
Creating a Fairer Tax Code to Pay for the Build Back Better Act
Below is an overview of the eight sources of revenues in the Build Back Better Act. Under this legislation, no one making less than $400,000 a year will pay one cent in additional taxes.
  • A 15 Percent Corporate Minimum Tax: Establishes a new “minimum tax” of 15 percent on all U.S. corporations earning more than $1 billion a year in profits. The minimum tax would be assessed on “book” income reported to shareholders, rather than profits reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Strengthening the Global Minimum Tax for Large Multinational Corporations: Ensures that U.S. companies pay a minimum tax of 15 percent on profits they earn overseas, as part of our international agreement to end the “race to the bottom” in taxing large corporations.
  • A Surcharge on the Wealthiest 0.02 Percent of Americans: Provides a new surtax on the income of multi-millionaires and billionaires – the wealthiest 0.02 percent of Americans. The surtax would apply a five percent rate above income of $10 million, and an additional three percent surtax on income above $25 million.
  • IRS Investments to Close the Tax Gap: Provides for closing the tax gap – the difference between what is owed to the IRS in taxes and what is actually collected each year. Provides that the Administration will invest $80 billion in the IRS for the hiring of new agents and modernization of the agency’s technology. The new funds will help enable the IRS to pursue wealthy tax cheats.
  • Closing Medicare Tax Loophole for Wealthy: Closes the loopholes that allow some wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying the 3.8 Medicare tax on their earnings.
  • Limiting Business Losses for the Wealthy: Limits the business losses the wealthy can claim to reduce their tax liability. For example, some high-income taxpayers claim their business losses against their investment income, zeroing out their tax bill. This limits the amount of business loss that can offset non-business income.
  • Tax on Stock Buybacks: Provides a one percent surcharge on corporate stock buybacks, which corporate executives too often use to enrich themselves rather than investing in workers and growing their businesses.
  • Repealing Trump Rebate Rule: Repeals the Trump rebate rule, saving taxpayers and seniors money. Among its negative effects, the Trump rebate rule increased the monthly Medicare premium that seniors pay.