Build Back Better Bill

Finn Harrison, Senior Copy Editor

 Joe Biden in front of Nancy Pelosi (Right), Kamala Harris (Left)                                                               Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

As President Biden begins his second year in America’s highest office, it’s worth looking back at what his administration has accomplished, and what it has stood for legislatively. The COVID-19 pandemic was hard on most Americans – financially, socially, and physically – A major aspect of President Biden’s draw was his promise to pull Americans through the pandemic while also making the country better. Upon his inauguration, this culminated in the President’s proposed “Build Back Better” plan which came in two parts: the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan. The American Jobs Plans intended to build back American infrastructure that was damaged by the pandemic, and create jobs with the new bridges, roads, and other infrastructure projects. This part was passed in the form of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on November 15, although this even faced many compromises in the gridlocked Senate. However, the second aspect of President Biden’s plan has faced greater resistance. The American Families plan was supposed to lessen the cost of raising a child or supporting a family for parents. The original bill called for $800 billion in child tax credit, free preschool, free community college, and the promise that no family spends more than 7% of their income on childcare. In a survey of faculty members with young children at LFA, Kevin Hagen, the father of two young children, said, “I think childcare is super crazy expensive, I spend one third of my income on it” and was thus in support of cost reduction. Childcare in the  Lake Forest area, for instance, can range from $1,600 to $2,400 per child per month, which makes up a hefty portion of a family’s monthly or annual income.


Unfortunately for those hoping for a reduction in childcare costs, the “human infrastructure” bill, as it had come to be called, was shot down over concerns about spending. The bill originated at $3.5 trillion, and was then slimmed down to $1.5 trillion. This was still shot down in the Senate after Senator Manchin (D-WV) announced that he believed his concerns about spending were being ignored. The bill was deemed “too fiscally liberal” even by the albeit slimly, liberally-controlled Senate. The 2020 election deemed a 50/50 split between the Democrats and Republicans with the Democratic Vice-President as a tiebreaker. However, without Senator Manchin’s support, it looks like the bill, in its current form, is off the table for now.