House Budget Committee 2021 Year-End Report

Dec 22, 2021

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The American people have always been our nation’s greatest resource. But a devastating pandemic, painful economic downturn, and decades of underinvestment in everything from health care and schooling to workforce development and housing have created serious challenges for families and dangerous deficits in our communities.

As our nation continues to overcome and recover from numerous crises, the House Budget Committee has worked diligently over the past year to deliver vital relief, improve and secure our fiscal outlook, safeguard and preserve our democracy, and advance investments that will generate broadly shared prosperity for generations to come.

FY 2021 Budget Resolution

In the beginning of 2021, our nation was still in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic. Congress’ bipartisan action in December was a step in the right direction, but it was only a long-delayed down payment. The American people could not afford any more delays and Republican inaction meant Congress needed a failsafe to prevent more needless suffering. Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth’s 2021 budget resolution provided an alternate path for relief: using reconciliation to achieve the goals outlined in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. This ensured Congress was able to meet the needs of the American people and move our nation forward.

The American Rescue Plan put shots in arms, money in pockets, and helped students safely return to the classroom while parents got back to work.

The American Rescue Plan – A Turning Point in Our Nation’s Fight Against COVID-19

Spearheaded by Chairman Yarmuth, the American Rescue Plan is one of the most consequential pieces of legislation in modern history.

After more than 100 hours of debate in the United States House of Representatives, nearly 15 hours of general debate in the Senate, and another 25 hours of debate during consideration of more than 800 amendments, this historic legislation delivered tailored, targeted relief to respond to the urgent needs of the American people.

That’s why experts and community leaders across the ideological spectrum expressed their support for the American Rescue Plan. Its life-changing and life-saving provisions – like the expanded and enhanced Child Tax Credit, state and local relief, and resources to safely reopen schools – have helped families and communities make ends meet while bolstering our national recovery.

The legislation was signed into law by President Biden in March 2021, and House Budget Democrats were proud to lead the way on this historic legislation.

President Biden’s FY 2022 Budget

President Biden’s FY 2022 budget laid out a visionary plan to address the needs of the American people and build a better and more secure future for our nation. Through a series of hearings with officials from the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Defense, House Budget Democrats took a deeper look at the bold investments in the President’s proposed budget.

“President Biden has proposed a transformative budget that will ensure we emerge from these past 14 months of crisis stronger and better prepared for the future than ever before,” said Chairman Yarmuth.

Among the proposed investments in the President’s budget:

  • Create jobs and revitalize U.S. manufacturing
  • Fix and modernize American infrastructure
  • Tackle the climate crisis
  • Solidify our care economy and support caregivers
  • Improve our education system and better prepare our nation’s students
  • Strengthen families and ensure more broadly shared prosperity
  • Properly fund non-defense discretionary investments
  • Meet our national defense needs
  • Make a fairer tax code

As Acting OMB Director Shalanda Young said, “The President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget details his agenda for this year, to help grow the economy, create good-paying jobs, empowering an equitable economic recovery.”

FY 2022 Budget Resolution

While the American Rescue Plan helped to change the course of the pandemic and our nation made significant progress in the fight against COVID-19, President Biden and Congressional Democrats knew that our work was not done. The 2022 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 14) laid the groundwork for the Build Back Better Act by creating a framework to use the budget reconciliation process to make historic investments in our communities and country.

The Build Back Better Act – Laying the Foundation for Strong Economic Growth and Shared Prosperity for All

While the American Rescue Plan and other rescue packages helped address immediate health and economic concerns, they were not a long-term solution to many of the pressing challenges facing our nation – many of which predate the pandemic. In fact, many of these challenges have only become more acute since the pandemic started.

Driven by the child care problems created by the pandemic, women have fallen out of the labor force in record numbers. Too many families do not have safe and affordable housing to live in. Rising health care costs are putting a strain on budgets for families and businesses. College has become unaffordable for too many students. Our veterans are being treated in hospitals and clinics that are in critical need of updating. Workers lack support when welcoming a new child or caring for a loved one. And we face a catastrophic climate crisis that threatens life as we know it.

Decades of disinvestment in our nation and its people have resulted in serious deficits in our society, spanning nearly every sector.  We can no longer afford the costs of neglect and inaction. 

The Build Back Better Act will deliver transformational investments in family care, health care, and combatting the climate crisis. And by ensuring that big corporations and the wealthiest few finally pay their fair share in taxes, these transformational investments will be fully paid for.

As Chairman Yarmuth said after House passage of the Build Back Better Act, “This is quite simply the greatest investment in American families in generations … There is virtually no American trying to get ahead whose life will not be improved by the Build Back Better Act.”   

Some of the Transformative Investments in the Build Back Better Act

  • The largest investment in child care in the nation’s history, saving most working American families more than half of their spending on child care;
  • Guaranteed universal pre-school for all three-and four-year olds, the first expansion of basic public education in our country in 100 years;
  • Our nation’s largest investment ever to combat the climate crisis;
  • A $2,000 cap on annual out-of-pocket prescription drug costs under Medicare, saving more than a million seniors an average of $1,200 a year;
  • An expansion of the Affordable Care Act so that those who have been locked out of Medicaid can get good coverage, and requiring all insurance companies to provide insulin for no more than $35 a month;
  • The single largest and most comprehensive investment in affordable housing in U.S. history; and
  • Extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit and delivery of one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in our nation’s history.

The Build Back Better Act is paid for by ensuring that large, profitable corporations and the wealthiest few pay their fair share.

The legislation passed the House in November 2021, a few weeks after a marathon House Budget Committee meeting on the reconciliation bill. House Budget Democrats were proud to deliver a path forward for President Biden’s and Congressional Democrats’ shared plan to Build Back Better.

The Protecting Our Democracy Act

For decades, Congress’ ability to exercise its singular spending authority has been increasingly challenged by an Executive Branch that has sought to seize control of the nation’s purse for itself.

That’s why Chairman Yarmuth’s Congressional Power of the Purse Act was included as one of the landmark reforms in the Protecting Our Democracy Act that passed the House December 9th of this year.

This legislation will not only reassert Congress’ power of the purse, but it will also restore the government’s system of checks and balances, strengthen accountability and transparency, and protect America’s elections from foreign interference.

House Budget Democrats in Action

Throughout all the challenges over the past year, House Democrats have remained steadfast in our commitment to invest in policies that will build an equitable, prosperous economy and a stronger future for American families. But we know that our work is not done.

Too many hard-working families are feeling the squeeze of rising costs. That is why we look forward to the Senate acting in the best interest of the American people and passing the Build Back Better Act, so we can lower costs for working families, ease inflationary pressures, and grow the economy from the bottom-up.

We also look forward to Senate passage of the Protecting Our Democracy Act. Over the past several years, we’ve seen the foundation of our democracy and democratic institutions put to the test like never before. But with of the enactment of the Protecting Our Democracy Act, we can uphold our Constitution and ensure the rule of law is strong enough to withstand a lawless Executive branch.