The House passed the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill on Friday.
The climate change and social policy bill was approved mostly along party lines after the Congressional Budget Office projected it would not significantly affect the country’s deficit or the taxes of average Americans.
A proponent for the act, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, celebrated the landmark bill among other supporters Friday on Capitol Hill.
“This is going to have a major positive impact on the Central Coast,” Rep. Carbajal told the News-Press. “This means a huge tax break for working and middle-class families that will cut down on the cost of living.
“The bill will lower prescription and premium healthcare costs and make major investments in diverse housing options,” he said. “And it is the biggest effort our country has ever made to address the climate crisis.”
The package additionally provides funding for universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, expands family leave and bolsters Pell grants for college tuition.
The bill includes Rep. Carbajal’s California Clean Coast Act, the first bill the congressman introduced as a member of Congress, which permanently bans future offshore oil and gas leasing off the coast of California.
The White House and affirming Democrats claim the Build Back Better bill will invest in the middle class at the expense of tax-evading corporations and the top 0.02% of Americans.
“Everybody’s going to have to pay their fair share now,” Rep. Carbajal told the News-Press. “The upper echelons of earners and corporations in this country will be paying their fair share, which for the most part will pay for this particular legislation.”
However, some senators, including Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, criticized the House proposal to lift the cap on state and local tax deductions on the grounds that it would disproportionately help wealthy Americans.
Supporters of the bill claim the legislation pays for itself with additions that bolster the economy.
“It strengthens our economy by creating jobs,” Rep. Carbajal said. “This is going to bring great prosperity to working and middle-class Americans.”
The bill is moving forward to the Senate and will need the votes of all Democrats, including two major players, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. Both are moderates.
However, Rep. Carbajal anticipates little to no pushback.
“There’s already been a lot of negotiation, and we’ve come a long way in getting consensus on this legislation,” Rep. Carbajal said.“The majority of this legislation will make it through the Senate and to the President’s desk.”
Rep. Carbajal joins other supporters in predicting a December dash to present the bill to the Senate before 2022.