House passes $1.7 trillion social spending bill after record rant by Rep. Kevin McCarthy

House passes $1.7 trillion social spending bill after record rant by Rep. Kevin McCarthy
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walk at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on October 1. On Friday, the House passed Biden's $1.7 trillion social spending bill called the Build Back Better Act. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 19 (UPI) -- The Democratic-controlled House on Friday narrowly passed President Joe Biden's $1.7 trillion social spending plan, which includes money for things like child care and climate change, after a long delay overnight by the top Republican in the chamber.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 220 to 213, and now moves to the Senate where Democrats have a razor-thin majority.


House members returned to work Friday to prepare for the vote after House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California ranted against the proposal for a record 8 1/2 hours.

Democrats had planned to vote for the Build Back Better Act on Thursday after receiving an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, which said the plan would add $160 billion to the national deficit over 10 years.

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The plan was interrupted by McCarthy, who began speaking about 8:30 p.m. Thursday and finished just after 5 a.m. Friday. McCarthy's speech was intended to delay the vote, as Republicans in the chamber didn't have enough votes to block the bill.

McCarthy's marathon speech was riddled with criticism of Biden, the Democratic Party and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He also made comments about COVID-19 booster shots, inflation, immigration, the Gettysburg Address, Elon Musk and George Washington crossing the Delaware.


At the conclusion of his speech, McCarthy received a round of applause from House Republicans.

The Build Back Better Act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill have been two of President Joe Biden's top legislative priorities. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI

Most Democrats didn't even hear McCarthy's lengthy rant, having left the chamber late Thursday with plans to return once he was finished. They returned on Friday morning.

When she gaveled the House back into session on Friday, Pelosi said, "As a courtesy to my colleagues, I will be brief."

"With the passage of the Build Back Better Act, we, this Democratic Congress, are taking our place in the long and honorable heritage of our democracy, with legislation that will be the pillar of health and financial security in America," she said, according to NBC News.

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"It will be historic in forging landmark progress for our nation."

For weeks, the spending package and the bipartisan infrastructure bill -- two of Biden's top legislative priorities -- had languished in Congress due to disagreements among moderate and progressive Democrats. Ultimately, the House passed the infrastructure bill and Biden signed it into law this week.

The social spending bill could pass the Senate soon. In the upper chamber, it would need only a simple Democratic majority of 50 votes -- plus the tiebreaker by Vice President Kamala Harris -- to pass the spending package through the budget reconciliation process.


Budget reconciliation only requires a simple majority to pass and is filibuster-proof, but only certain pieces of legislation qualify.

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