President Biden's Revised 'Build Back Better' Plan to Focus on Human Infrastructure
On October 28, President Biden published a revised framework of the Build Back Better plan, his administration’s signature legislation focused on “human infrastructure” (aka social/domestic policy spending). The framework is a product of extensive negotiations between the White House and key Democrat Senators, particularly Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema (D-AZ), both of whom had demanded less spending and modified offsets designed to fund plan. Both Senators were successful in negotiating down the original price tag of the plan from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion. While the plan was released with great fanfare by President Biden, who traveled personally to Capitol Hill to make the announcement and urge rank-and-file Democrats to support it, there are a few key points to keep in mind. These include:
- This framework is a deal between President Biden and Senate Democrats. House Democrats must also give their support to the plan before it can become law. Already, the progressive wing of the House has indicated concerns about too many social programs being cut from the original plan. That faction will try to protest the scaled back version and threaten to withhold votes, so Speaker Pelosi now has the ball in her court to quell dissatisfaction amongst her caucus and garner the votes needed to support the plan. If history is our guide, the Speaker will be successful.
- This is a simply a framework; details will be filled in via legislative language between now and December. And the devil is always in the details. As concrete provisions emerge, PRINTING United Alliance will have a better idea of the industry impact (i.e., which offsets may be foisted upon business in the form of higher taxes, new employer mandates, and/or increased federal agency fees and penalties). As Congress adds the legislative meat to the bones of the Build Back Better plan, PRINTING United Alliance and its member companies will also have a window of opportunity to influence the final outcome of the plan in order to mitigate potential negative impacts on the industry.
- The fate of the bipartisan transportation and infrastructure bill and the decidedly non-bipartisan Build Back Better plan have been intertwined, and both seem to be heading toward resolution on Capitol Hill. Just hours after President Biden announced he’d reached Senate agreement on the Build Back Better framework, Speaker Pelosi announced a vote would be held that same day to pass the languishing transportation and infrastructure bill. Internal squabbling between moderate and progressive House Democrats has held up passage, the latter faction demanding to get a votes on both bills at the same time. It remains to be seen if the framework (rather than an actual vote) will mollify the progressive wing, but the Speaker on October 28th committed to hold open the process on the House floor “as long as necessary” to get to the required majority of 218 “yes” votes. (This was still unfolding at press time.)
All of this Capitol Hill action precedes an important overseas trip to Europe by President Biden. He is slated to leave at week’s end for the first in-person meeting of G-20 leaders since prior to the pandemic, the focus of which will be climate change. No doubt this week’s burst of energy to advance both of the White House’s key legislative initiatives was driven by the President’s desire to tout accomplishments and offer solid evidence that the US is striving to lead in global climate policy.
Stay tuned for further developments as PRINTING United Alliance is closely monitoring the progress on Capitol Hill.
Lisbeth Lyons is Vice President, Government & Political Affairs, PRINTING United Alliance, the largest, most comprehensive graphic arts trade association in the country. With more than 20 years of experience representing the voice of business on Capitol Hill, Lisbeth advocates for public policies that protect and advance the economic future of the printing and packaging industry. She oversees PRINTING United Alliance’s legislative, political, and grassroots advocacy initiatives, and has served in executive leadership of multiple successful advocacy campaigns, such as Coalition for Paper Options, Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, and Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers Coalition.
Prior to representing PRINTING United Alliance, Lisbeth served in similar roles at Printing Industries of America, US Telecom, and the National Federation of Independent Business. She also spent three years as a K-12 teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system, where she was on the forefront of urban education reform in the mid-1990s.
Lisbeth is Midwestern born and bred, having grown up in the St. Louis metropolitan area and attended college at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, before starting her career in Washington, DC. She holds a B.A. in English/Sociology and a professional graduate certificate from The George Washington University School of Political Management. She lives in the historic Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC.
An avid leader and learner in professional development, Lisbeth was a founding member of the Government Relations Leadership Forum, and is an active participant in organizations such as Council of Manufacturing Associations, Women in Government Relations, and National Association of Business PACs, among others. Lisbeth is often a featured speaker at premier industry conferences; she has spoken to Boards of Directors, corporate executive management teams, and state and regional trade associations across the country from coast to coast.