In a major legislative achievement for the Biden administration, the House passed the President’s $1.75 trillion climate and social spending package, the Build Back Better (BBB) bill (H.R. 5376) on November 19 by a vote of 220 to 213. The initial House Ways and Means Committee reconciliation bill included transformational improvements to the historic tax credit. Unfortunately, as overall spending for the BBB legislation was reduced from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion, the HTC provisions were dropped from the final House bill.
The reduced spending target for the BBB legislation also meant that supplemental funding for historic preservation activities was reduced from the original Natural Resource Committee’s $75 million recommendation to $25 million in the House-passed bill. This critically important supplemental funding will help address State Historic Preservation Offices’ and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices’ priorities that will arise from the anticipated and unprecedented investment in our nation’s infrastructure following the recent passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
It is expected the Senate will take up the BBB legislation immediately after the Thanksgiving break. President Biden and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will keep the Senate focused on completing work on the BBB legislation before the holiday recess. Should negotiations stall in the Senate, Congress will likely need to extend its work into the winter holiday recess and possibly into the new year. Complicating matters is the likelihood the Senate will amend the House-passed BBB legislation, requiring that it be reconsidered in the House before reaching the President’s desk.
To improve the chances of the Senate adding HTC provisions back into the BBB legislation, the National Trust organized a national sign-on letter to demonstrate the widespread support for improving and modernizing the HTC. The letter garnered nearly 4,200 signatories, including 2,600 organizations and 1,600 individuals, to be sent to Congressional leadership.
Take action and encourage your senators to include HTC provisions within the final Build Back Better legislation.