House Passes Build Back Better Act

The House approved on Nov. 19 the Build Back Better Act, a partisan social spending bill that now must be considered by the Senate.

The House approved on Nov. 19 the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), reconciliation legislation estimated to cost more than $1.6 trillion that includes several social spending measures paid for with tax increases on corporations and individuals. The measure passed by a vote of 220-213, with only one Democrat voting against the bill.

The Build Back Better Act contains technology-specific energy tax extensions through 2026, followed by a shift to a “technology-neutral,” low carbon fuel standard-type tax scheme beginning in 2027.  Beginning in 2023, the legislation includes special, “carve-out” tax benefits for renewable jet fuel.  This treatment would inevitably divert feedstock that would otherwise go toward biofuels to be blended with diesel and gasoline.  NATSO opposes this and is actively engaged on this issue.

The Build Back Better Act now heads to the Senate where major changes are still anticipated to garner support from moderate Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). The Senate Parliamentarian will also have to decide if the provisions included in the House-passed Build Back Better Act comply with the so-called “Byrd Rule” for budget reconciliation measures.

Until early November, the Build Back Better Act was inextricably linked to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), a separate, bipartisan infrastructure package that NATSO supported and was ultimately signed into law on Nov. 15. Moderates and progressives reached a deal to allow the IIJA to move forward in the House and moderates committed to support the Build Back Better Act if the estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) supported the White House’s own estimates. CBO estimated that, on net, the bill would increase the deficit by $367 billion from Fiscal Year 2022 through 2031, reflecting $1.64 trillion in spending increases offset by $1.27 trillion in additional revenue.

NATSO continues to advocate for changes to the Build Back Better Act as it is considered in the Senate. If the Senate eventually passes a version of the Build Back Better Act that differs from the House version, the House must vote again on the bill.

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