How Biden’s social spending bill spends, stacks up to other COVID-era bills

Data Desk

US President Joe Biden, with Vice President Kamala Harris (L), speaks about the Child Tax Credit relief payments that are part of the American Rescue Plan during an event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, July 15, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

DENVER (KDVR) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion social spending and climate bill, the latest in a year’s worth of trillion-plus-dollar federal spending packages.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where it is sure to get whittled down from its originally-proposed scope.

The bill is split between subsidizing low- and middle-income Americans for a slew of goods and services and using federal dollars to incentivize wind and solar energy development.

Roughly 30% of the Build Back Better plan will go to energy concerns. The Congressional Budget Office estimates $570 billion will go to tax credits for individuals to use non-fossil fuel technologies and for tax credits and incentives to develop wind and solar energy.

The bill’s second-largest spending bucket would pay for children’s programs. It would apply $381.5 billion to rolling out a nationwide system of universal pre-K school and to subsidize childcare costs for children under 6 years old.

The plan would spend $205.5 billion to implement a national system of four weeks of sick and paid family leave. Another $203 billion would go to expanding the $300 per child tax credits that began during the pandemic.

The plan would also expand home care options for Medicaid recipients, slated to cost $158 billion, pour $148.1 billion into subsidized housing, put $200 billion to subsidizing health care premiums for several levels of Affordable Care Act recipients.

The bill’s smallest chunks would expand hearing coverage to Medicare recipients, enlarge federal Pell grants and offer Medicaid benefits to states that refused Medicaid expansion.

Biden’s Build Back Better plan doesn’t quite stack up to former President Donald Trump’s CARES Act, but it does blow past Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

The latest Build Back Better bill joins a growing list of trillion-dollar legislation. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, there have been several historically expensive bills passed at the federal level.

The CARES Act, signed into law in 2020 by then-President Donald Trump, was the country’s costliest bill in history at $2.2 trillion.

The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act was second at $1.9 trillion, matching the amount slated for Biden’s social spending and climate bill. Only recently, Congress approved his $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill.

Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal only cost an inflation-adjusted $850 billion.

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