Democrats are moving forward with their expanded social safety net and climate change spending agenda despite their party's Virginia election loss.
The Virginia governor race was viewed by many as a bellwether for the 2022 midterm election. Democratic presidential nominees have won there since 2008. The state has had Democratic governors since 2013.
GOP businessman Glenn Youngkin defeated former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday evening. Republicans also won the attorney general and lieutenant governor races.
"This election on Tuesday showed us how seriously we have to take these pocketbook issues and the reality is that Build Back Better Act is going to reduce costs for poor families and working families," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
The Build Back Better Act contains universal pre-K, support for child care and more than $550 billion for climate change initiatives.
Democrats are trying again to use budget reconciliation as a way to avoid the filibuster and pass the bill without bipartisan support. The party used the same strategy to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in March.
According to a Penn Wharton analysis highlighted by the Wall Street Journal, the Build Back Better bill would increase federal spending by $4 trillion if all of the new programs inside of it were made permanent. The White House estimates that the total package is about $1.75 trillion.
Following Tuesday's election results, President Biden said Democrats should move forward with his Build Back Better Act as well as the separate $1 trillion Senate-passed infrastructure bill.
"What I do know is, I do know that people want us to get things done," Biden said during a news conference on Thursday. "They want us to get things done."
"And that's why I'm continuing to push very hard for the Democratic Party to move along and pass my infrastructure bill and my Build Back Better bill," he added.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled that the Democrat-led Congress is not going to roll back the nearly $2 trillion Build Back Better Act any further after the Virginia election loss.
"The more results we can produce in a way that people understand in their lives, the better it is," Pelosi said, reacting to McAuliffe's loss.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who has advocated reducing the size of the Democrats' reconciliation package, reiterated his concerns about increasing government spending while inflation is rising and supply chain issues continue.
"I've been saying this for many, many months — people have concerns, people are concerned," he said. "And for us to go down a path that we've been going and trying to accelerate it — and it has been slowed down – I think we need to take our time and do it right."
Manchin declared the U.S. is a "center-right" country.