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Senate to Pare Build Back Better, How Big Will the Axe Be?

Biden's Build Back Better program will not survive the Senate as is. Here's a look at what's likely to be cut.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi BBB

How Big the Axe?

The question of the day is What Goes and What Stays in the House $2 Trillion BBB Program.

Key Items

  • State and Local Tax (SALT): Some Democrats from high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey have been adamant that the $10,000 cap on state and local deductions, put in place in the 2017 GOP tax bill, be raised. House added a provision that would lift the cap to $72,500, starting in tax year 2021. It would also extend that higher cap through 2031. That provision could be problematic in the Senate, where every Democratic member must support the legislation. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) have said they oppose the House version but support a version with an income cap for the state and local tax deduction.
  • Paid Leave: House Democrats have also included four weeks of paid parental, sick or caregiving leave. Under the $200 billion program, the government would provide Americans a share of their wages while they take leave. Democrats had originally proposed 12 weeks of leave. That provision faces trouble in the Senate, where centrist West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has said he opposes its inclusion. 
  • Methane: Under the House bill, companies would be required to pay fees for methane emitted by oil and gas wells, transmission lines and other facilities. They could also receive $775 million of grants and other subsidies to help pay for emissions reductions. Mr. Manchin, whose state is a big gas producer, hasn’t said whether he supports the plan; his opposition could force the provision to be altered or removed from the bill.
  • Tax Incentive for Electric Cars: Under the bill, $4,500 of a total $12,500 electric-vehicle tax credit would be available only for cars, vans, SUVs and pickups made at unionized factories. Republicans are expected to ask the Senate parliamentarian to remove that provision, arguing that it doesn’t comport with Senate rules requiring spending to have a meaningful fiscal impact that is more than “merely incidental” to the policy proposal.
  • Immigration: House Democrats included a provision that would provide a five-year, renewable work authorization to anyone in the country before 2011, no matter how they entered, providing legal status to millions of residents. The Senate parliamentarian has already ruled that two earlier proposals to legalize millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally didn’t qualify under rules governing legislation passed through reconciliation, suggesting that the latest measure could be stripped from the bill.


  • State and Local Tax (SALT): Expect a compromise. Curiously, the House bill is  regressive. The biggest beneficiaries are the very wealthy. We will see a cap on income or a cap on the amount. That's up to whatever Sanders will go along with.
  • Paid Leave: I expect Manchin to hold firm. If so, paid leave will be struck from the bill.
  • Methane: I suspect Manchin will strike this although he has not stated an opinion.
  • Tax Incentive for Electric Cars: One of two things will happen. The Senate will strike the union-made requirement or the whole thing goes. 
  • Immigration: Gone

Terrible Deal

In simple terms, not much will happen. The Progressives will get most of what they want by playing games with the timeline.

Their hope, and Manchin's stated fear is that once enacted, government spending programs never get cancelled.

Bad But Expected News 

On November 5 I commented Bad But Expected News - Progressives Cave In and Pass Infrastructure Bill

Progressives has insisted Build Back Better pass first. But after months of wrangling, Pelosi finally corralled enough House Progressives to pass the infrastructure bill stand alone.

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The only thing I can come up with is Pelosi is now willing to pass the infrastructure bill and Build Back Better separately but cannot come out and say it that way because Progressives will not go along.

Divide and Conquer?

Next, assuming Manchin hold firms, Pelosi will ask the Progressives “Do you want something or nothing?”

Rest assured it will be something unless Manchin is willing to kill the whole damn thing.

I hoped Progressives would not cave in, but they did as expected. 

A bill that could not be passed in one piece will instead get passed in two.

Wharton Analyzes Biden's Lies, Concludes Build Back Better Costs Over Twice As Much

Please note Wharton Analyzes Biden's Lies, Concludes Build Back Better Costs Over Twice As Much

The White House cost estimate for Build Back Better is $1.870 trillion. Wharton's estimate is $4.262 trillion.

The cost will be a little less if Manchin holds firm on paid, but this is a huge socialist  pipeline.

To answer my question "How Big the Axe?". 

Not very,  unless Manchin does the unexpected and kills the whole thing.

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