CHN: Advocates Continue to Push for Measures to Build Back Better
Three months after the Nov. 19 House passage of the historic Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), the future of the bill is dim. Opposition to the House-passed bill from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and all Senate Republicans means that any bill that can pass the Senate will have to be scaled down considerably from the House version. Advocates remain hopeful that the Senate may still be able to pass legislation containing significant pieces of the Build Back Better Act, such as the expansion of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, as well as money for Medicaid home– and community-based services (HCBS), housing, health coverage, child care/early childhood education, combating climate change, and more. Some Democrats support a package that contains measures that would ease inflationary pressures on low- and middle-income households, like funding to make child care more affordable and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. However, reports are that there will be no legislative action in the Senate on such a bill until April at the earliest.
Advocates are disappointed by the logjam in the Senate, as the House-passed Build Back Better Act would make major investments to reduce child poverty by 40 percent, expand access to health care, invest in affordable housing, and promote broadly shared economic security, with special attention to the needs of people with low incomes, communities of color, and immigrant families. For more details on the legislation, see the Nov. 22 Human Needs Report.
New research from Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy found that 3.7 million more children were in poverty in January, compared to December, due to the absence of the monthly $250 – $300 per child Child Tax Credit payment, which expired in December because the Senate failed to act.