The Democratic Party — the party with control of the House of Representatives, the presidency, and a slim majority of the Senate — are attempting to jam through a $1.75 trillion bill called the Build Back Better Act. Currently, the bill is in the framework stage, but it remains a massive spending initiative.
According to the White House’s website, the bill would provide universal preschool, invest in clean energy and tax credits for families who switch to clean energy, strengthen the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), and much more.
However,Democrats attempt to jam through $1.75 trillion spending bill the bill has been hotly contested in the Democratic Party between progressives and moderates, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) pushing massive cuts to the original draft.
“If you look at the progressive movement, they’re between a rock and a hard place right now. They have to get something, Democrats have to get something passed. But basically they don’t have the votes for what they want to get passed,” said Elmhurst University adjunct Scott Braam.
“Well here’s the problem with that [progressives voting against the bill] perhaps, if you’re a pragmatist like me: Ok, then don’t vote for it. If there isn’t a perceived victory by Joe Biden, you will have a Republican president, maybe Donald Trump [in] 2024. You for sure lose the midterms,” said Braam.
Many of the initiatives put forth in the initial bill were cut. According to NBC News, this included paid family leave, free community college for two years, and the addition of dental and vision coverage to medicare.
“That community college bill would go a long way to send people who maybe would not have gone to college to get a degree, and some form of technical work, or then go on to a four year institution and study something,” said EU junior Lukas Munoz.
“Some of the people I know would have definitely benefited from it [free two year community college] I think maybe some of the people that didn’t go to college, like from high school, might have gone with that initiative in place,” said Munoz.
Munoz said that two free years at community college could have helped students focus more on their education over paying for their tuition.
“If you’re paying tuition, you’re gonna have to be working to pay that tuition, but if you give kids the option, like ‘ok here’s the tuition paid,’ I mean you could have a thing where students focus on their studies, on their education, which is not necessarily a bad thing,” said Munoz.
According to NBC News, the Build Back Better Act would put forward $555 billion in clean energy funding. These initiatives include expanding clean energy tax credits, and developing more incentives for families to switch to renewable energy.
“I think it’s a solid investment,” said Munoz. “I think it’s probably a little small compared to what it should be, I’m not an expert on it, the transition to clean energy. But I think it does seem a little small.”
While the bill has been scaled down due to moderate Democrats, Braam believes there is still potential in the good provided by this bill. He also says the Democrats need something in order to have a shot at maintaining control come the midterm election of 2022.
“This scaled down version still has amazing things in it,” said Braam. “When you’re down 20 to nothing you shouldn’t probably be running the ball, you probably should be throwing that pass. And it seems to me that they [the Democrats] better throw that long pass soon, they better get something passed.”