Texas House Democrats celebrate passage of spending bill, GOP hopes for defeat in Senate

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., presides over House passage of President Joe Biden’s expansive social and environment bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

HOUSTON (KIAH) — Texas Democrats in the U.S. House were eager to celebrate the passage of the Build Better Act to the U.S. Senate on Friday, even though the bill’s future is up in doubt.

Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, who represents the 7th District in Houston, said that the passage of the Build Back Better Act will bring a lot of good things for Houston families, including low healthcare costs and more childcare.

“I am proud of the work I did on the Energy and Commerce Committee to ensure this bill lowers prescription drug costs for Americans and provides health care coverage for up to 1.7 million uninsured people in Texas and across the country,” Fletcher said in a statement. “As a representative of the energy capital of the world, I worked to ensure our knowledge and experience are reflected in workable policies to reduce emissions and achieve our climate goals.  Houstonians and people across the country will benefit from the Build Back Better Act for generations to come.”

Rep. Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat representing the 29th District in Houston, said the bill will help families to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Texas families will live healthier lives by accessing affordable lifesaving medication and go back to work with the jobs of the future,” Garcia said. “Children will go back to school and mothers will rejoin the workforce and achieve their career dreams.

“Our country will Build Back Better for all, not for just a few. This once-in-a-generation investment will be remembered by our grandchildren as the time we came together as a nation to build our American dream.”

Rep. Al Green of Houston’s 9th District talked about the bill’s expanding Medicare coverage to Texans. “It will also provide coverage for Medicaid to the millions of people who live in one of the 12 states across the country, including Texas, which have not expanded the program. This means 1,554,000 Texans who are currently uninsured will now gain coverage,” he said.

All House Republicans voted against the bill, including Rep. Troy Nehls of the 22nd District, which takes up parts of suburban Houston. He tweeted how the $1.68 trillion bill will be a burden on taxpayers.

The House GOP will hope that the bill will be defeated in the Senate, where it faces a narrow path of passage as two moderate Democrats will decide the bill’s fate. That is where Sen. John Cornyn of Texas thinks the bill will go down in defeat.

“Despite their cries of taxing the rich, Democrats are plotting an absolutely massive handout to the wealthiest Americans,” Cornyn said in a statement. “The rich in America who stand to gain the most from this change are those who live in blue states like New York and California that have higher state and local taxes. They would, under this legislation, get to deduct up to $80,000 in their state and local taxes from next year’s federal tax return, leaving everybody else to fill up the gap.

“This is a reckless tax-and-spending spree that will benefit the wealthiest of Americans at the cost of working families. The last thing we need to do is to line the pockets of wealthy Americans while driving up the cost of the middle class.”

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