WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — In an effort to bolster support among his own party for his agenda and budget, President Biden slashed his Build Back Better plan from $3.5 trillion to $1.7 trillion.
But while Democrats have abandoned some of their ambitious plans in the president’s proposal, it’s still unclear if Congress will approve the package.
“I am disappointed, I wish there were programs in there — paid family leave, for example, dental coverage for seniors,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).
Provisions for Medicare to negotiate or cap prescription drug prices and add vision care were scrapped, too.
The cuts were made to get senators Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema on board but the two key Democrats still haven’t confirmed their support.
Immigration reform is also likely out. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said he doesn’t see how it can be included.
“The parliamentarian — I have great respect for her, I think she calls them as she sees them,” he said. “I don’t see a viable option to overrule her.”
The package still includes hundreds of billions for affordable housing, earned income and child tax credits for Americans; the Affordable Care Act, expanding Medicare to include hearing and universal preschool and childcare subsidies, which California Congresswoman Norma Torres calls transformative.
“To ensure that the moms are able to get back to work. That they’re able to save more than half of what they spend on childcare,” Torres said.
Republicans say the package, which would also invest $555 billion to fight climate change, is still far too big.
“Major expansions of government agencies and even more inflation that will lead to higher costs for all Americans,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).