Pelosi on $550 billion climate spending: 'For me, it's a religious thing'

Biden's Build Back Better Act is estimated to cost $4.79 trillion if its policies are made permanent, according to the Committee for a Responsible Budget

Updated: November 18, 2021 - 6:27pm

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the Democrats' effort to dedicate over $550 billion of taxpayer funding toward climate change initiatives in President Biden's Build Back Better Act has a religious meaning.

"For me, it's a religious thing. I believe this is God's creation and we have moral obligation to be good stewards. But if you don't share that view, you must share the view that we have an obligation to future generations," Pelosi, who was raised Catholic, said at a news conference. "So we're very excited about what is in there and it is paid for."

Biden's nearly $2 trillion bill also continues the Democrats' expansion of the Child Tax Credit that passed in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, a coronavirus stimulus bill. For the first time, parents not earning income can claim the Child Tax Credit on their tax returns up to $3,600 per child, depending on their age.

"It's about health care for our children, clean air, clean water, it's about jobs, jobs, jobs; good paying union jobs, to keep us preeminent in green technologies throughout the world," Pelosi said.

The California Democrat also touted the universal pre-K provisions of the bill.

"This legislation is so historic. It is so transformative," she said. "Free, universal pre-K. Childcare, we're lowering the costs."

Moderate Democrats have called for the Congressional Budget Office to "score" the cost of the bill before a final vote occurs. Democratic leaders are using the budget reconciliation process for the bill to avoid the legislative filibuster in the 50-50 Senate. Pelosi said she expects the score to be released on Thursday and a final vote to occur in the evening or on Friday.

The bill is estimated to cost $4.79 trillion if its policies are made permanent, according to the Committee for a Responsible Budget.

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