House schedule suggests Thursday debate for massive social spending bill

Democratic lawmaker says Build Back Better is a ‘jobs’ act

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., explains why she doesn’t call Biden’s Build Back Better plan a ‘social spending’ package

The official House of Representatives schedule suggests that debate on the massive Democrat social bill will begin on Thursday.

“Official House schedule from Hoyer indicates mbrs will debate social spending bill Thursday,” Fox News Congressional Correspondent Chad Pergram tweeted Wednesday evening regarding Thursday’s plans to debate the nearly $2 trillion social spending bill, known as the Build Back Better act. 

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks about his Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal during a speech from the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 28, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

House moderates say they won’t vote on the bill without enough information from the CBO on it. It is not clear how much is enough. And the Senate cannot even take up the bill without a CBO score because of its rules under budget reconciliation, the process Democrats are using to circumvent a GOP filibuster. 

“We aim to pass it before Christmas,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said about the spending bill earlier this week.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks about his Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal as Vice President Kamala Harris stands by in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 28, 2021.
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Schumer previously said he wanted the Senate to work on passing the bill this week, but it is now clear that will be impossible. That means after the holiday, both chambers will face down a crush of high-stakes issues that could make or break Biden’s presidency, buoy or tank the economy, and potentially keep lawmakers in the Capitol deep into the holiday season. 

“I ask that you please keep your schedule flexible for the remainder of the calendar year. As you can see, we still have much work to do to close out what will be a very successful year of legislative accomplishments,” Schumer told Senate Democrats in a letter Sunday.

After months of trying to force their massive social spending bill onto President Biden’s desk, congressional Democrats are confronting the reality that the effort will drag past Thanksgiving and collide with other major issues that could put its passage in doubt, including the debt ceiling debate, which was pushed to December earlier this year.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The House could vote as soon as this week on the tax and spending bill that imagines spending $1.75 trillion over the next decade to bolster the social safety net, combat climate change, and fund various progressive wish lists. 

The measure – which comes at an awkward time for Democrats, with inflation hitting a three-decade high in October – could push new federal spending over the past 18 months to a stunning $8.85 trillion. 

Lawmakers have already approved about $7.1 trillion in new spending since March 2020, including $5.9 trillion in pandemic relief measures, according to a money tracker published by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington. About $4.8 trillion has already been spent or is earmarked for future use. 

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Megan Henney and Tyler Olson contributed to this report

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