Lawmakers in the US House of Representatives have passed a spending bill that could drastically expand the social safety net. The Build Back Better Act authorizes 1.75 trillion dollars to increase access to health care, fight climate change, and help families and children.
The bill would be a signature achievement for President Joe Biden, but it faces an uncertain future in the Senate.
Members of Biden's Democratic Party had been at odds over the bill, but party leadership went ahead with the vote anyway. Every single Republican member voted against it. It passed by a margin of 220 to 213.
The bill provides tax cuts and free daycare for families with small children. It increases taxes on large companies and the wealthy, and it supports measures to promote electric vehicles and renewable energy.
Before the vote, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy delivered an eight-and-a-half-hour speech to stall the proceedings. It was the longest speech in the history of the House.
Experts say the bill will face difficulty passing a vote in the Senate. Some Democratic senators may not vote for it over concerns that large-scale spending will accelerate inflation. Republicans are also expected to vote against it.
Earlier this week, Biden signed a major infrastructure package into law. It provides 1 trillion dollars to improve transportation systems, supply chains, and broadband access.