BOSTON — Another windfall of federal funding could be headed to Massachusetts from a $2 trillion social services package working its way through Congress.
On Friday, the House of Representatives narrowly approved President Joe Biden’s latest spending bill that includes major investments in health care, environmental protection, education and housing with a focus on buoying low- and middle-income families and the elderly.
The House approval, which sends the spending package to the Senate, comes just days after Biden signed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill into law.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the “Build Back Better” plan is “transformative” and will “forge extraordinary progress for the American people: creating good-paying jobs, lowering costs and cutting taxes, while making the wealthiest and big corporations pay their fair share.”
Members of the state’s all-Democrat congressional delegation uniformly voted in favor the plan, which passed 220-213 in a mostly party line vote.
Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Westford, said House approval of the plan “moves us one step closer to delivering the tools and resources working families need to return to work in good-paying jobs knowing they have the support necessary to provide for their loved ones.”
Trahan said the measure would divert more federal funding for housing, childcare, education, environmental protection and other pressing needs.
Trahan said the bill will also make another $500 million available to address combined sewer outfalls that spew sewage into the Merrimack River and other bodies of water across the state, usually after heavy rains. That would come on top of $1.4 billion in water and sewer spending in a previously approved infrastructure bill.
The measure includes a host of policy changes that will affect child care subsidies, universal preschool, paid family leave, renewable energy tax incentives and extensions of the expanded child tax credit. It also includes provisions aimed at reducing prescription drug costs.
Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Salem, also voted for the measure and highlighted proposed investments he says put the country on “a path to reinventing our 1950s transportation system” with “true high-speed rail that will connect people and offer cleaner, faster, and safer alternatives to sitting in traffic.”
“Every American deserves the freedom to travel comfortably and effortlessly at 200 mph from city to city and town to town if they want to, just like the rest of the developed world,” he said.
Much of the plan would be paid for with tax increases on the country’s biggest earners, large corporations and companies doing business overseas.
The bill includes new surtaxes on individuals earning more than $10 million annually and corporate profits.
Money from crackdowns on overseas tax cheats would also help offset the long-term costs of the multibillion dollar spending bill, backers say.
Republicans have criticized the size and scope of the massive spending bill, pointing to a Congressional Budget Office report showing the package would allocate $1.64 trillion in new federal spending over 10 years.
The bill now moves to a divided U.S. Senate, where lawmakers have warned that changes to the bill are likely before it’s sent to Biden’s desk for consideration.
Massachusetts is slated to get about $9 billion in federal funding from the infrastructure bill signed by Biden last week. The state has already received about $5.2 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill signed by Biden in March.
Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and websites. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.