The House of Representatives was back in session Friday morning and scheduled to vote on President Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending package after a record-setting speech by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) opposing the measure.
After receiving a full report from the Congressional Budget Office on how the bill will affect the deficit over the next ten years, Democrats had hoped to vote on the bill — also known as the Build Back Better Act — Thursday evening.
However, McCarthy used the prerogative given party leaders to hold the floor as long as they wish to deliver an 8-hour, 33-minute monologue calling the package the “single most reckless and irresponsible spending bill in our nation’s history.”
“Let me be clear,” McCarthy said. “Never in American history has so much been spent at one time – at one time,” the California Republican said. “Never in American history will so many taxes be raised and so much borrowing to be needed to pay for all this reckless spending.”
During his remarks, McCarthy recognized that some members were “mad” at him for speaking so long.
“But I’ve had enough. America has had enough,” he said, sparring with heckling Democrats who interrupted him throughout the night.
After the House reconvened Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) jabbed at McCarthy over the amount of time he’d used.
“As a courtesy to my colleagues, I will be brief,” she said before urging members to vote “no” to a motion to recommit, which would have sent the measure back to the committee level.
A vote on final passage was expected following the vote on the recommitment motion, which was expected to fail.
Earlier Friday, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) announced that he would vote against the spending plan, saying that it was “not the best deal for my constituents.” In a statement, Golden took issue with a repeal of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap, which is supported by lawmakers from high-tax states like New York and New Jersey, as well as the lack of a so-called “billionaire tax”.
Pelosi can afford three defections in her party before the bill fails. All Republicans are expected to vote against the measure.
Earlier Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office released their report on the legislation, finding that it would add approximately $367 billion to the deficit over the next decade — despite the Biden administration repeatedly claiming the bill would be fully paid for through tax tikes on large corporations and high earners in the US.
The CBO’s estimate does not include “additional revenue that may be generated by additional funding for tax enforcement.” The office did note that a proposal to spend an additional $80 billion on IRS enforcement would raise $207 billion in revenues, bringing a net gain to $127 billion over the next decade.
If passed by the House, Biden’s spending bill still faces an uphill climb in the Senate, where two moderate Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — have objected to several provisions and demanded the measure be fully paid for.
Democrats need complete party support to pass the bill in the Senate through a parliamentary measure called reconciliation — which allows the bill to pass without Republican support.