President Biden Fights for Environmental Reform and Government-Funded Childcare with New Bill

By Theresa Rabbia


President Biden has extremely ambitious plans addressed in his most recent social policy bill regarding key provisions that revolve around climate change and childcare.[1] This proposed 1.85-trillion-dollar plan, known as the Build Back Better Act (BBBA), is to be voted on by the House of Representatives the week of November 15, 2021, and, if passed, will continue to make its way to the Senate floor.[2] This plan is said to impact virtually every American at every stage of life and is the “most significant expansion of the nation’s safety net since the war on poverty in the 1960s,” which is why the passing of this bill has the potential to be momentous.[3] Already having gone through many revisions, the future of this bill is unclear.

Regarding childcare, this bill seeks to expand working families’ ability to obtain affordable childcare by establishing a system of universal pre-k for all 3- and 4-year-olds.[4] This bill also aims to provide middle-class and lower earning families with subsidies to provide for childcare.[5] The goal is to guarantee that the majority of Americans would not have to spend more than 7% of their income to acquire necessary care for their child.[6] Universal Pre-K not only would provide lower earning families with the ability to access affordable child care but it also aids in the overall development of the child.[7] Universal pre-k would provide children who come from lower-income earning families the same opportunities to high-quality education as the children who are more privileged.[8] This ultimately means that children of all different races, backgrounds, economic standings  can start on equal footing when it comes time for kindergarten enrollment.[9] The long-term effect of this would be tremendous for society as a whole. Starting at age three or four, children would get a head start on building social and emotional skills necessary for kindergarten which in turn aid in the child’s academic development which can carry on all throughout their adult life leading them to become productive members of society.[10] With the child care provision alone, this bill has the potential to help businesses all across America.[11] If parents and their employers do not have to worry about child care, it would logically follow that production can increase as employees would not have to take off necessary time from work.[12] This can be looked at as a double-win for both employers and employees: employees will be less likely to take time off to care for their child allowing them to earn more money. Overall, employers will have more workers, which leads to increased productivity and profit.[13]

Another important aspect of this bill regards climate change.[14] The BBBA seeks to address the ongoing issue of methane emissions that are harmful to the environment.[15] The BBBA would impose a fee on industries that are known to produce large amounts of methane thus encouraging them to reduce their emissions and in turn, their carbon-footprint as a whole.[16] Also, of the 1.85 trillion dollars going into this plan, $320 billion would go toward the funding of clean energy tax credits that will aid in business’s shift to the utilization of clean energy resources to further their productivity.[17]

There has been significant pushback on this bill from not only the GOP but several representatives of the Democratic party, most notably Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).[18] Republican representatives are worried that, especially with the government-funded childcare provision, our economic system is becoming more and more socialist.[19] Republicans are worried that the costs for the child care portion, $400 billion, are too high and would result in the unwanted government intrusion into the lives of families.[20]

While this bill has already had a confusing history considering all of its revisions, the hope is to have a final version completed by Thanksgiving 2021.[21]

[1] Josh Boak & Kevin Freking, What’s in and what’s out, as House nears vote on Biden bill, AP News (Nov. 4, 2021),

[2] Jonathan Weisman, From Cradle to Grave, Democrats Move to Expand Social Safety Net, N.Y. Times (Sept. 6, 2021 | Updated Nov. 1, 2021),

[3] Id.

[4] Boak, supra note 1.

[5] Id.

[6] Mary Clare Jalonick & Lisa Mascaro, US-funded child care aid nearing reality with Biden bill, AP News (Nov. 10, 2021),

[7] Sarah Nardi, What Biden’s universal pre-k proposal could mean for families in central Illinois, WGLT (Nov. 2 , 2021 12:26 PM),

[8] Id.

[9] Ashley Brooks, Exploring the Potential Pros and Cons of Universal Pre-K, Rasmussen University (Sept. 7, 2020),

[10] Nardi, supra note 7.

[11] Rhett Buttle, Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal A Great Start: The Build Back Better Framework Could Further Lift Small Businesses, Forbes (Nov. 8, 2021, 12:40 PM),

[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[14] Sean Sullivan et. al., Democrats sorting through painful sacrifices as social bill enters final stretch, Washington Post (Sept. 12, 2021, 6:26 PM),

[15] Ewelina Czapla, Methane Fees for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, American Action Forum (Nov. 9, 2021),

[16] Id.

[17] Boak, supra note 1.

[18] Jalonick, supra note 6.

[19] Id.

[20] Id.

[21] Boal, supra note 1.

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