On Friday morning, the House passed President Biden's Build Back Better bill after deliberating for weeks. The bill includes a wide range of spending aimed at social safety net packages, including paid family leave, free universal preschool, and more affordable childcare and healthcare.
The $2 trillion legislation package was approved on a 220-213 vote. The bill will also focus on many significant climate change initiatives, capping drug costs, boosting Pell grants for college tuition, and helping Americans recover from the pandemic.
THANK YOU! Because of the voices of parents and caregivers, #BuildBackBetter just got through the US House with: Paid Family/Medical Leave, Childcare, HomeCare, Maternal Health, Expanded Child Tax Credit. Next stop: The Senate! Keep the pressure on! #CareCantWait pic.twitter.com/eooKHkYtjc— MomsRising (@MomsRising) November 19, 2021
House Democrats initially proposed 12 weeks of paid family leave as part of the bill, but Republicans and centrist Democrats struck down the proposal. After going back and forth on the issue—and at one point, removing paid leave from the table altogether— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that four weeks of paid family and medical leave made it into the final version of the bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to the measure as "historic, transformative and larger than anything we have ever done before."
Prior to the final vote Friday morning, she addressed the House by reminding them what they're voting for and why.
The House has voted 220-213 to pass the Build Back Better bill.— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) November 19, 2021
Not a single Republican voted for:
• Universal pre-K
• Child care tax credits
• Paid family leave
• Elder care
• Medicare coverage for hearing
• Lower prescription drug costs pic.twitter.com/9yAIOGN9zs
"We are building back better," she said. "If you're a parent, a senior, a child, a worker. If you're an American, this bill is for you."
After the bill passed, Democrats gathered at the front of the chamber, hugging, dancing, applauding, and cheering. The U.S. is still the only industrialized nation that does not offer paid maternity or paternity leave or universal childcare options.
The measure now goes to the Senate.