Democrats Scramble to Pass Infrastructure, Build Back Better Bills


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is hoping to pass President Biden’s infrastructure and Build Back Better bills this week but the legislative timeline still remains unclear. House progressives had previously said they would hold up the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by the Senate until all 50 Senate Democrats agreed they would support the Build Back Better package.

The Build Back Better legislative framework includes provisions to fight climate change, provides universal pre-school for three- and four-year-olds, extends the child tax credit, expands Medicare and has other housing, health care and immigration provisions.

While House progressives now appear ready to move forward on both bills, House moderates are hesitant to move forward until they have assurances that Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) will agree to support the package.

At a Capitol Hill press conference yesterday, Manchin said he wanted more time to consider the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better framework, stating that “we must allow time for complete transparency and analysis on the impact of changes to our tax code and energy and climate policies.”

NAHB supports the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by the Senate and pending in the House. This package would make much-need improvements to the nation’s roads, bridges, broadband and public transportation network. This bill, titled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will help connect more Americans from their homes to their places of work and within their communities.

It contains several provisions that will boost housing affordability:

  • By including Sen. Manchin’s Energy Infrastructure Act, this legislation advances efforts to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions without stringent energy code mandates that will increase housing prices.
  • The measure restores an exemption for water and sewer contributions in aid of construction that will save some developers as much as 40% on water and sewer costs.
  • The bill also streamlines the federal permitting process, which will minimize uncertainty in the housing approval process and make the homes that are built more affordable.

The Build Back Better Act includes 1,700 pages of legislative language and NAHB is carefully reviewing the draft to see how it would affect our members.

Making the process more challenging is that the bill continues to evolve, with some provisions being removed from the package and others added. For example, Democrats are currently scrambling to negotiate a compromise that would lower prescription drug costs, as well as provide relief on the $10,000 cap on the federal deduction for state and local taxes, known as SALT.

In the near future, NAHBNow will provide an analysis of the housing, tax and labor provisions in the Build Back Better Act that are of interest to our members.

Whether the House votes on both bills this week is an open question, but both the social spending and bipartisan infrastructure bills are expected to pass both chambers of Congress before the end of the year.

Democrats are in agreement that passing the infrastructure and Build Back Better packages are vital to advancing President Biden’s agenda and their chance of retaining control of Congress in the midterm elections.

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