Biden's $1.75 tril. spending package passes House, goes to Senate

© Kyodo News

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed a $1.75 trillion spending package aimed at enhancing the social safety net and tackling the climate crisis, marking progress toward carrying out President Joe Biden's economic agenda.

The Build Back Better Act, which still needs to pass the divided Senate to become law, along with a recently passed infrastructure investment of roughly $1 trillion would feature as major achievements in Biden's pitch to voters ahead of the midterm elections next year.

The Democratic-controlled House passed the social spending bill by a vote of 220-213, with one Democratic member joining Republicans in voting against it.

The bill was scaled down from an initial $3.5 trillion package. It will include $555 billion for measures to promote clean energy and shift to electric vehicles, as well as cut child-care costs, deliver two years of free preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old in the country and expand access to high-quality home care for the elderly, according to the White House.

But the Senate's deliberations could result in changes to the bill, requiring the House to vote again before Biden can sign it into law.

The Congressional Budget Office released an estimate on Thursday that the spending package will add about $367 billion to federal budget deficits in total over 10 years.

But Biden administration officials have insisted that the Build Back Better Act is fully paid for, and in fact will "reduce" the nation's debt over time by generating more than $2 trillion through reforms toward increasing tax revenue from the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.

The Treasury Department has also said an investment in the Internal Revenue Service to crack down on high-earners who avoid paying the taxes they owe would generate at least $400 billion in additional revenue.