Negotiations on a revised Build Back Better Act remain behind closed doors as Congress publicly debates several high-profile issues. The replacement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and the crisis in Ukraine have garnered the most media attention, but another government spending deadline is fast approaching. Congress has until February 18 to reach a deal or face a shutdown, but disagreements over a top-line spending number and controversial amendments have made finding an agreement difficult.
Behind the scenes, Democratic leaders are still working to win over moderate holdouts to President Biden’s Build Back Better plan. Sen. Joe Manchin, whose opposition to the almost $2 trillion price tag scuttled the original legislation in December, reiterated on Tuesday that the current version is “dead.” However, he is open to negotiations on a smaller package, and it appears that he is supportive of including $150 billion for home and community-services. The size of the package and details of what else could be included remain uncertain.
As negotiations continue, the advocacy priorities for Lutheran Services in America remain the same. We will continue to advocate for the inclusion of at least $150 billion for home and community-based services in the next legislative package, as well as key provisions that would help address the acute direct care workforce shortage including:
- $1 billion for a grant program funding strategies to recruit and retain direct care workers; and
- The provisions of the WORK NOW Act to create a $50 billion grant program supporting nonprofits in paying wages and benefits.
Join us in our efforts to ensure these provisions are included as negotiations move forward.