Build Back Almost: Historic Legislation Falls One Vote Short

A roundup of news on the planning-related consequences of the reported demise of the Build Back Better Act—a $2 trillion social spending bill intended to accompany the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act approved earlier this year.

December 21, 2021, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Protesters at the Hart Senate Office Building carry signs calling for Sen. Manchin to support the full Build Back Better Bill.

Protesters carry signs calling for U.S. Senator Manchin to support the full Build Back Better bill at the at the Hart Senate Office Building on October 27, 2021. | Phil Pasquini / Shutterstock

By now you have probably seen the news that the $2 trillion social spending bill known as the Build Back Better Act (BBB) has been dealt what appears to be a final defeat by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia). The bill, once included as a portion of a larger budget reconciliation bill, was split off from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to ensure the latter's approval in November, but with the promise of a consensus on BBB by the end of the year.

The demise of BBB means hundreds of billions in potential projects and programs directly related to the field of planning have suddenly vanished. Planetizen will continue to monitor the news for more insight into the consequences of BBB's failure for planners around the country, but a roundup of what we have found so far follows. So far, articles can be organized into two categories: climate change and political intrigue. As of this writing, there is not yet post-Manchin news and commentary on the placed-based initiatives, affordable housing programs, and zoning reform programs proposed in BBB.

Climate Change


James Brasuell

James Brasuell is a writer and editor, producing web, print, and video content on the subjects of planning, urbanism, and mobility. James has managed all editorial content and direction for Planetizen since 2014 and was promoted to editorial director in 2021.

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