The House of Representatives on Friday passed President Joe Biden’s $1.85 trillion Build Back Better bill, a sweeping measure aimed at expanding the social safety net and devoting funds to combat climate change.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where it faces a long road ahead – including the need to win over moderates and survive the Senate's budget reconciliation process, which means more changes could be coming.

What You Need To Know

  • The House of Representatives on Friday passed President Joe Biden’s $1.85 trillion Build Back Better bill, a sweeping measure aimed at expanding the social safety net and devoting funds to combat climate change 

  • Final debate on the bill Thursday came after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the improve the deficit by $160 billion over the coming decade; The White House has insisted the bill is fully paid for, funded largely by a combination of tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, large corporations and companies doing business overseas

  • Democrats expected to pass the bill Thursday night, but an 8-and-a-half hour speech from Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California dashed those hopes, albeit temporarily

  • The bill is still very popular among the American people: A recently released Quinnipiac poll, which spelled mixed results for the president's party in other regards, found that 58% of Americans support the Build Back Better bill, compared to just 36% who oppose it

Democrats clapped and cheered as they surpassed the 218 votes they needed to guarantee passage, chanting "Build back better! Build back better!” on the floor of the House. After the bill passed, they chanted "Nancy! Nancy! Nancy!" as they encircled the Speaker of the House.

The bill passed 220-213, largely along party lines, with all Democrats, save for Maine's Rep. Jared Golden, voting in favor of the sweeping measure, which includes funding for universal pre-Kindergarten, reducing prescription drug costs and the largest-ever legislative investment to fight climate change.

It will be funded largely by a combination of tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, large corporations and companies doing business overseas.

Shortly after the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pledged that the chamber "will act as quickly as possible to get this bill" to President Biden's desk.

President Biden called Speaker Pelosi shortly after the vote to congratulate her on the passage of the bill, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a Twitter post.

"Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act to take another giant step forward in carrying out my economic plan to create jobs, reduce costs, make our country more competitive, and give working people and the middle class a fighting chance," Biden wrote in a statement.

"The Build Back Better Act is fiscally responsible," he continued. It reduces the deficit over the long-term. It’s fully paid for by making sure that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share in federal taxes. It keeps my commitment that no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in federal taxes."

Leading economists and independent experts on Wall Street have confirmed that it will not add to inflationary pressures," the president added. "Instead, it will boost the capacity of our economy and reduce costs for millions of families."

"I thank Speaker Pelosi and the House leadership and every House member who worked so hard and voted to pass this bill," Biden concluded. "For the second time in just two weeks, the House of Representatives has moved on critical and consequential pieces of my legislative agenda. Now, the Build Back Better Act goes to the United States Senate, where I look forward to it passing as soon as possible so I can sign it into law."

The passage of the bill comes after the House was expected to pass the measure Thursday night – until House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., took the podium.

McCarthy, who has not shied away from his ambitions of obtaining the Speaker's gavel should Republicans take back the chamber in 2022, stepped up to the podium Thursday evening to speak, and did not yield back the floor until after 5 a.m. Friday morning – 8 hours and 32 minutes of speaking.

The California Republican's remarks broke the record for the longest continuous speech on the House floor set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in 2018, at 8 hours and 7 minutes. Each lawmaker was given a minute to speak, but McCarthy utilized the so-called "magic minute," a special privilege which allows the leadership in each party to speak at length.

McCarthy's speech was a sweeping condemnation of President Joe Biden and Democrats, touching on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, rising gas prices, inflation, and various other Republican talking points, as well as personal anecdotes and attacks on Pelosi.

Some Democrats interrupted, heckled and booed the Minority Leader, underscoring a tense week in the chamber following Wednesday's vote to censure far-right Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and remove him from committee assignments over a violent animated video he posted that depicted him killing New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden.

Quoting a moderate Democrat, McCarthy said that "nobody elected Joe Biden to be FDR."

"I did!" Ocasio-Cortez shouted, followed by another Democrat saying, "Me too!"

“I know some of you are mad at me, think I spoke too long,” McCarthy said. “But I’ve had enough. America has had enough.”

Democrats largely left as McCarthy continued on, some branding it as a "stunt" and others as a "temper tantrum" from the California Republican.

"It is a feat of epic proportions to speak for four hours straight and not produce a single memorable phrase, original insight or even a joke," Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin wrote on Twitter. "McCarthy thinks he is a wit but so far he has proved he is only half right."

Despite the delay, the bill passed on a near party-line vote, with just Rep. Golden opposed. (It should be noted that the Maine lawmaker also voted against President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, and other Democratic priorities, including a bipartisan bill aimed at expanding background checks.)

The House resumed session Friday morning after McCarthy's marathon remarks, with Speaker Pelosi taking a jab at the California Republican: "As a courtesy to my colleagues, I will be brief."

Pelosi said that the bill will represent "landmark progress," adding that it will be the "pillar of health and financial security in America."

"We are proud to pass this legislation under the leadership of Joe Biden," Pelosi said, praising the president's economic vision.

The Build Back Better bill, she said, is "historic, transformative, and larger than anything we have done before."

Final debate on the long-delayed legislation Thursday came after a cost estimate the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that the bill would increase deficits by $160 billion over 10 years.

It also recalculated the measure’s 10-year price tag at $1.68 trillion, though that figure wasn’t directly comparable to a $1.85 trillion figure Democrats have been using. (For comparison, the CBO estimated that the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which which Biden signed into law this week, would add $256 billion to the deficit over the same period.

The CBO score and other pricing estimates will likely be crucial to getting the bill through the Senate's reconciliation process, as well as winning the support of key moderates, including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.

There will no doubt be changes to the bill between the House and Senate versions of the bill to appease moderates as well as fit the Senate's budget reconciliation rules.

Pelosi said after the bill passed that she isn't too concerned between the differences between the House and Senate, saying they do need to "reconcile" their areas of disagreement, "but at the end of the day we will have a great bill."

"We have our own, say, personality about things," Pelosi said about the differences between the two chambers, but said getting the bill through the House was "the biggest hurdle."

Manchin has been critical of legislation which could add to the deficit and increase inflation, despite being one of the key negotiators on the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which the CBO estimated would add to the deficit.

The Biden administration has insisted that the bill is "fully paid for," funded largely by a combination of tax increases on the wealthy, big corporations and companies doing business abroad. Earlier this week, the White House sought to downplay the head of the CBO's assessment about a key revenue stream in paying for the president’s plan.

The measure would provide $109 billion to create free preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds. There were large sums for home health care for seniors, new Medicare coverage for hearing and a new requirement for four weeks of paid family leave. The family leave program, however, was expected to be removed in the Senate, where it’s been opposed by Manchin.

In one major but expected difference, CBO estimated that by spending $80 billion to beef up IRS tax enforcement, the agency would collect $207 billion in new revenue over the coming decade. That meant net savings of $127 billion, well below the White House’s more optimistic $400 billion estimate.

In a scorekeeping quirk, CBO formally estimated that the legislation would drive up federal budget deficits by $367 billion over the coming decade. The agency’s budget guidelines technically require it to not count IRS savings when measuring a bill’s deficit impact. But it acknowledged that the measure’s true impact would produce added shortfalls of the lower figure — $160 billion — when counting added revenue the IRS would collect.

Phillip Swagel, director of the nonpartisan CBO, said Monday that a plan to beef up the IRS in order to crack down on tax cheats would yield about $120 billion over a decade, just a fraction of the $400 billion the Biden administration is counting on.

A CBO estimate released Thursday said that the tax enforcement provisions of the bill would "increase outlays by $80 billion and revenues by $207 billion, thus decreasing the deficit by $127 billion, through 2031."

During a press gaggle aboard Air Force One on Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates cast doubt on the CBO’s calculation. 

“There has been wide agreements on the part of everyone involved —  moderates, liberals, etc. — that CBO does not have experience analyzing revenue amounts gained from cracking down on wealthy tax cheats who are taking advantage of every honest taxpayer,” Bates said.

Bates added: “There's a huge body of work from economic experts, including Republican former treasury secretaries, IRS commissioners who have served served under presidents of both parties, as well as (former Treasury Secretary and National Economic Council Director) Larry Summers, with whom we have sometimes had important differences, affirming that, if anything, our estimates lowball how much revenue can be brought in by cracking down on rich tax cheats.”

Swagel suggested the Biden administration is being overly optimistic that more aggressive auditing would deter wealthy people and corporations from seeking out new ways to avoid paying taxes.

Bates said, outside of the IRS enforcement projection, “CBO’s fiscal data so far lines up with our estimates that we released to all of you for costs, or they even come in below our estimates.”  

The CBO also found that the prescription drug pricing provisions in the Build Back Better bill would account for $262 billion in savings.

Manchin has also expressed concerns about inflation related to the bill, after a report emerged last week that consumer prices jumped 6.2% in October from the year prior, the largest jump in decades. Roughly half of Americans (48%) blame Biden for rising inflation, according to a recently released ABC News-Washington Post poll, though wages are up and unemployment is down significantly since the Democrat took office. Fifty percent do not blame Biden much, or at all, for inflation.

The Biden administration continually points to a letter from 17 Nobel laureates in economics, which says that because the president's agenda "invests in long-term economic capacity and will enhance the ability of more Americans to participate productively in the economy, it will ease longer-term inflationary pressures."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., put it bluntly on Wednesday: "Stronger growth, less inflation. I’ll say it again: if you want to fight inflation—if you want to lower costs and grow the economy—support Build Back Better. If you want to fight inflation, support Build Back Better."

Republicans said the legislation would damage an economy already racked by inflation, give tax breaks to some wealthy taxpayers and make government bigger and more intrusive. Drawing frequent GOP attacks was a provision boosting the limit on state and local taxes that people can deduct from federal taxes, which disproportionately helps top earners from high-tax coastal states.

Minority Leader McCarthy railed against the package and recited problems the country has faced under Biden, including inflation, large numbers of immigrants crossing the Southwest border and the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. “Yeah, I want to go back,” he said in mocking reference to the measure's “Build Back Better” name.

Democrats booed as he spoke, prompting McCarthy replay: “It’s okay. I’m here all night.”

Two weeks after centrists’ objections forced Democrats to delay the measure, the party’s divisions seemed all but resolved, for now. Facing uniform Republican opposition, Democrats could affod to lose no more than three votes to prevail in the House.

The news comes at the bill continues to be popular among the American people. A recently released Quinnipiac poll, which spelled mixed results for the president's party in other regards, found that 58% of Americans support the Build Back Better bill, compared to just 36% who oppose it. The bill has the support of a majority of independents, 59-37, and an overwhelming majority of Democrats, 90-6. The same poll found it was slightly more popular than the infrastructure bill, which enjoyed 57% support.

Democrats were still hammering out the final details of the bill as of Thursday, with a couple of sticking points, including paid family leave and the state and local tax (SALT) deduction on property taxes. The Trump administration's 2017 tax bill, supported unilaterally by Republicans, caps that deduction at $10,000 per year.

Some Democrats argue that it's a benefit to the wealthy, but others, many from high-income, high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, say that it disproportionately impacts their constitutents.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, called it "bad policy" and "bad politics."

"We’ve got to demand that the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes, not give them more tax breaks," Sanders said, adding: "We have to help the middle class, not the 1%."

Surprisingly, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who shepherded the tax bill through the Senate in 2017, criticized SALT relief on Thursday, saying it benefits "the ultrawealthy out on the coast."

But Pelosi vowed to "fight" to keep SALT relief in the bill, setting up a potential showdown as the two chambers of Congress reconcile their differences to pass the other key portion of President Biden's economic agenda ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

Spectrum News' Ryan Chatelain contributed to this report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.