Democrats in the House Education and Labor Committee revealed how their committee would use the $761 billion from the $3.5 trillion budget resolution package, saying that among other things, the money will be used to lower the cost of childcare and provide free preschool and community college.
“The Education and Labor Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act makes historic investments that will lower costs for nearly every family, create good-paying jobs for American workers, and provide our nation’s children the strong foundation they deserve,” said Chairman Robert C. Scott (D-Va.) in a press statement Wednesday.
The committee will begin marking up the legislation on Thursday with members offering amendments in an attempt to change how the $761 billion is spent.
The legislation would subsidize childcare programs, making it so most families would not have to pay more than 7 percent of their income for each child’s daycare. The funding would also subsidize a pay increase for childcare workers, so facilities could hire more workers.
The funding would also subsidize universal pre-K, so all 3- and 4-year-olds could go to school.
The funding allots $111 billion to provide two years of free community colleges, invest in the Pell Grant program, and fund educational institutions that cater to blacks, Hispanics, and minorities to make quality degrees more affordable for those groups.
The committee’s bill provides $82 billion to public schools for repairs and upgrades. It will invest close to $80 billion in workforce development programs including training people for climate change energy-related jobs.
The funding will also include about $35 billion for school food programs during the school year and the summer months, as well as provide money to upgrade school kitchens.
Ranking Member of the committee Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-S.C.) slammed the committee’s bill, calling it a part of Biden’s “reckless,” “partisan” spending.
“Congressional Democrats could empower individuals and entrepreneurs to make the financial, professional, educational, and parental decisions that work best for them. Instead, Democrats are pushing an irresponsible spending scheme that will double down on the inflation crisis and allow the federal government to infringe on Americans’ liberties,” Foxx said in a press statement Wednesday.
Democrats are pressing forward with their $3.5 trillion budget resolution even though there is opposition within their own party, with some moderates saying this level of spending will increase inflation and saddle future generations with federal debt.
Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has repeatedly said he does not think that this level of spending is wise and his party should put a pause on the legislation until after the pandemic and after assessing the recent inflation.
Republicans have all said they will oppose the budget resolution, but Democrats do not need the GOP to vote in favor of the bill if they get all 50 Democrat senators to vote in favor of the package.
Top Democrat leaders have shared confidence that their party will rally together to pass the massive funding bill.
Schumer was asked by a local ABC news reporter on Sunday if he can convince all members of his party, particularly Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who has also said she will not support the resolution, to vote in favor of the massive spending bill.
“I’m going to do my best and you know so far, after some discussion, and some compromise they have gone along with previous bills. Let’s hope it happens again,” said Schumer. “I have a caucus that runs from Bernie Sanders on the left to Joe Manchin, on the right. How do I bring them all together when you only have 50 votes and every one of them counts?”
Meanwhile, Sanders said he speaks directly to caucus members, in an effort to further negotiations on the budget bill.
“After a lot of negotiations and pain—and I’m going to be on the phone all week—what we are going to do is pass the most comprehensive bill for working families that this country has seen,” Sanders told The New York Times.