Congress has kept the federal government running and has until Oct. 18 to raise the country’s debt ceiling.
But the multitrillion-dollar infrastructure and social policy packages — the Senate has already passed the former with Republican support — languished as progressive and centrist Democrats could not find shared ground over how much and what to spend on what is being called the Build Back Better Act.
Reached for comment, Hyde Park-Kenwood’s representatives, Bobby Rush (D-1st) and Robin Kelly (D-2nd), stressed support for both pieces of legislation, with Rush, in a statement, saying the social policy piece is “just as — if not more — important than physical infrastructure.”
But Kelly’s spokesperson conceded that, given the opposition in the Senate, it appears that the Build Back Better Act will be scaled back, with specifics to be known as talks continue this week.
“Rep. Kelly’s priorities have not changed – she is still focused on ensuring that Build Back Better includes significant investments in maternal health care, including a mandatory extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage for 12 months after delivery, a solution to close the Medicaid coverage gap and Medicare dental coverage,” she said. “There has been some discussion of a sunset included for these benefits as a way to mitigate cost, but Rep. Kelly will continue doing everything she can to see that these critically important health investments remain permanent.”
The spokeswoman said Kelly will also ensure that funding to address gun violence-as-public health will remain in the final social policy package.
As a key House player in energy policy, Rush said he worked to ensure the Committee on Energy and Commerce passed clean energy provisions that "leave no community behind — especially those that have been historically underinvested in and subjected to environmental injustice.
“These provisions include funding to fully replace all lead service lines, expand electric vehicle infrastructure in underserved communities, tackle environmental injustice, and address air pollution and toxins in schools,” he said. “My staff has been in close discussion with Sen. (Joe) Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) staff and other energy leaders in the House and Senate to ensure that these priorities are represented in the final deal.”