In a historic victory for feminist policies, the Build Back Better Act passed the House of Representatives Friday morning by a vote of 220-213. The Act will invest billions in helping women, families, and the environment.
The law was able to be passed thanks to the strong leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as the leader of the Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal.
Included in the law are universal pre-K for three and four-year-olds, free school lunches, and expanded head start programs.
American workers will finally have universal access to four weeks of paid family and medical leave. Paid leave will cover a new child by birth, adoption, or foster care; to recover from a serious illness, or to care for a seriously ill family member. Benefits will be provided based on a sliding scale with low-income workers receiving 90% of their income. The percentage decreases as an individual’s income increases.
The law also caps child care spending at 7% of an individual’s annual income for people making 250% or less of the median state income and extends the Child Tax Credit for another year.
It also addresses health care disparities by expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers from 60 days after birth to one year, with the goal of combating maternal mortality rates, as well as capping insulin costs at $35 per month. This is a major victory, as pharmaceutical companies have hiked the price of insulin to $300 per vial.
Additionally, the law expands medicare to include hearing coverage, and caps prescription drug costs at $2,000 a year.
The Act also allocates $500 billion to combat climate change.
“This bill is monumental. It is historic,” Speaker Pelosi said. “It is transformative. It is bigger than anything we have ever done.”
Sources: Build Back Better Act 11/3/21; The Center for Law and Social Policy 11/16/21; CNBC 11/18/21; CNBC 11/19/21