What’s in Biden’s $1.75 trillion ‘Build Back Better’ package?

The Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives was expected to vote on Friday on a sweeping, $1.75 trillion social policy and climate package that accounts for much of Democratic President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda.

The package has been scaled back and modified extensively during months of negotiations, and is likely to be modified further in the Senate.

Here is what the latest version contains, according to the White House:

Family benefits

  • Free preschool for all three- and four-year-olds
  • Support for childcare costs: Families that earn less than $300,000 per year would pay no more than 7 percent of their income on childcare
  • Tax credits worth up to $300 per child per month
  • Bolsters coverage of home care costs for the elderly and disabled people through the Medicaid health programme
  • Expands free school meals and provides $65 per month in grocery money during summer months for 29 million low-income children who are eligible for free lunches at school

Climate

  • Rebates and credits to cut the cost of rooftop solar systems by 30 percent and union-made electric vehicles produced in the US by $12,500
  • Incentives to encourage US manufacturing of clean energy technology and shift other industries to reduce carbon emissions
  • Creates 300,000-strong Civilian Climate Corps to work on environmental and climate projects
  • Creates a Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator to invest in climate-related projects, with at least 40 percent serving disadvantaged communities
  • New spending on coastal restoration, forest management and soil conservation

Healthcare

  • Enables the Medicare health plan for seniors to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs that have been on the market for at least nine years
  • Penalises drug companies that increase prices faster than inflation
  • Caps out-of-pocket prescription drug prices at $2,000 per year and lowers insulin prices to $35 per month
  • Expands Medicare to cover hearing aids
  • Reduces Affordable Care Act premiums by an average of $600 per person per year
  • Expands Medicaid coverage to low-income people in the 12 states that have opted not to expand the programme on their own

Housing

  • Expands affordable housing, public housing and rental assistance programmes
  • Broadens downpayment assistance to bolster homeownership
  • Expands lead paint removal efforts
  • Supports community-led redevelopment in low-income neighbourhoods
  • Encourages local governments to ease zoning restrictions that limit housing density

Education

  • Increases Pell Grants for college costs
  • More aid for historically Black colleges and other minority-serving schools
  • Boosts the Labor Department’s job training programmes by 50 percent

Immigration*

  • $100bn in “immigration reform”, which is additional funding beyond the $1.75 trillion
  • Efforts to reduce backlogs, expand legal services and improve border processing and asylum programmes

Other programmes

  • Expands a tax credit for low-income workers to cover those who do not have children
  • More money for rural projects
  • Supports community violence intervention

Taxes

  • 15 percent minimum tax on corporate profits for companies with more than $1bn in profits
  • 1 percent surcharge on stock buybacks
  • 15 percent minimum tax on foreign profits of US corporations
  • 5 percent surtax on personal income above $10m
  • Additional 3 percent surtax on income above $25m
  • Close loophole to prevent the wealthy from avoiding 3.8 percent Medicare tax
  • Bolster the Internal Revenue Service to improve customer service and focus enforcement on wealthy tax evaders
  • Expands a deduction for state and local taxes that primarily benefits upper-income households in high-tax states. Republicans had reduced that benefit in their 2017 tax cut package

*Immigration provisions could be removed from the legislation by the Senate parliamentarian

Source: Reuters

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