The US House of Representatives passed the Social Safety Net and Climate Plan. The bill is being compared to the New Deal. Democrats consider it to be one of the most important social initiatives in US history. The $1.7 trillion bill would increase the budget deficit by $367 billion from 2022 to 2031, according to the Congressional Budget Office estimates. The Build Back Better package is now heading to the Senate where with all probability, lawmakers will continue to negotiate the details of the bill. If amended, the House of Representatives would have to reconsider it.
The most significant provisions are for climate change ($555billion), universal pre-K ($400 billion), child tax credits ($200 billion), 4 weeks of paid leave ($200 billion), healthcare ($165 billion), affordable home care ($150 billion) and affordable housing ($150 billion). This could represent billions arriving in Puerto Rico for the next decade.
The most significant measure is the one that would grant an extension to the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI) to Puerto Ricans and increase Medicaid funds to $3.6 billion per year. The new Medicaid allocation cap for Puerto Rico would mean an increase of over $600 million from the actual one. In Puerto Rico, it is estimated that the average SSI payment could be $418 per month and benefit about 400,000 people, according to the Center for a New Economy (CNE). The Ways and Means Committee has made it clear that the extension to the island of this program would be permanent. For universal pre-K, it is estimated to add $1 billion to the territories which includes Puerto Rico.
According to Resident Commissioner Jeniffer Gonzalez most of these funds would be assigned to Puerto Rico. The bill also includes childcare in which Puerto Ricans would benefit if they earned less than $300,000. For public housing, Puerto Rico would be assigned between $5 and $6 billion. There are also incentives for investing in Puerto Rico by dismissing an increase of the corporate tax rate from 21% to 25%. Nutritional assistance for students totalling $65 monthly would be extended for fiscal years 2021 and 2024.