Build Back Better Act: the Legislative Lull That Won’t Budge
Last year was another busy legislative year with new administration taking office and tax laws being passed left and right. The American Rescue Plan was enacted back in March; the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law in November and last, but certainly not least we come to the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) which was the last piece of major legislation the Biden administration sought to enact in 2021. In the face of opposition by some moderate Democratic Senators regarding certain policy provisions and its price tag, the BBBA did not make it through the Senate by December 31st … and is currently in limbo now as we’ve turned the page to 2022.
Both Congress and the administration have much on their plate come mid-February 2022 between the recent Supreme Courts retirement announcement, global affairs issues, and many other items. With such a crowded agenda, the BBBA seems to have faded into the background as of late. Realistically, there appears to be three possible paths ahead – the biggest question remains, which path will we ultimately venture down?
The bill could get a new shot at life and be taken up in its current form (or close to it) in the Senate. Given the opposition to some of the bill’s policy provisions, recent comments about the bill’s status being “dead,” and its price tag it seems unlikely that it would pass the Senate in a form close to what it was in December.
The bill could simply die on the vine. Having entered 2022, and with midterm elections on the calendar in November, it may be too difficult to revive any part of the bill this year.
The bill could be split up into separate pieces of legislation. While some provisions in the current bill do not have adequate support to ensure passage in the Senate, some provisions likely do. Climate issues, energy provisions, and tax matters could be taken up in separate bills or included in other legislative packages, such as the fiscal year 2022 spending bill – there are several options here. If legislative priorities are addressed in this manner, we may see these provisions revived or even enacted into law throughout the year.
Unfortunately, one thing is certain: No matter how powerful a crystal ball one can find it cannot predict what is going to happen in an unpredictable legislative year as it relates to tax law. As events continue to develop, we will follow them and provide our insights along the way.