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What will the Build Back Better Act do for Texas?

Congressman Marc Veasey and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo both discussed the plan on this week's Inside Texas Politics.
Credit: AP
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the October jobs report from the State Dining Room of the White House, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Build Back Better Act

The Build Back Better Act – one of President Joe Biden's priorities – is expected to finally get a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives before Nov. 15, according to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Democrats have fought over it for months, and, admittedly, are trying to do a better job of explaining the spending plan and what it means for Texas.

Last Friday, the U.S. House finally passed President Biden's bi-partisan infrastructure package. The Build Back Better Act includes social programs that remain priorities for Democrats.

Congressman Marc Veasey, who represents a wide part of North Texas – from Fort Worth to Dallas – spoke to Inside Texas Politics from his office in Washington, D.C. He said there's always bound to be disagreements about such major pieces of legislation like the Build Back Better Act.

"Of course you don't want the disagreements to play out in public - you never do," Veasey admitted, while saying he thought it was "good for the American public to see that people do need to be able to work with each other and there is a lot of back and forth."

"It's going to be good for Texas, and it's going to be good for America," he added.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo also discussed what the plan would bring to Texas, including a universal Pre-K program, wider access to high-speed broadband internet and bringing down healthcare costs.

"So much of the coverage has been focused on the slogan or the amount of money and the reality is, this is just bread-and-butter issues that are going to help Texans get through the day, get through the week, do their jobs and take care of their families," Raimondo said.

Elections reflections

Republicans won some big races last week – and they did it without Donald Trump's help. Does this relieve the pressure on Republicans, like Gov. Greg Abbott, to go along with the former president? Also, what is the Democrats' reaction to last week's election – are they ahead or behind now going into 2022?

Public split on Texas election law

Friday, The University of Texas and The Texas Tribune published new 2022 election poll numbers, specifically on how Texans feel about the changes to voting laws.

Texans are split pretty much evenly on whether laws should be stricter, less strict, or left alone. But the poll went deeper to ask whether the election system discriminates against racial and ethnic groups.

Ross Ramsey, with the Tribune, said the biggest takeaway from the poll was the obvious partisan divide.

"Like so many of these questions, Democrats think this (law) does discriminate. Republicans think it does not discriminate," he said.

Prop A fails

In Austin last Tuesday, voters resoundingly rejected Proposition A. That was the measure that would have mandated that Austin hire more police. Firefighters there even fought against it.

But the group behind Prop A – Save Austin Now – isn't going away. They are planning their next moves. Co-founder Matt Mackowiak laid out on Inside Texas Politics what they’re looking at next and said he believes the city will hire hundreds more officers over the next year as a result of the public pressure. And even though it may not be at the level Prop A supporters were seeking - two officers for every 1,000 residents - Mackowiak said it will be better than nothing.

Watch the full episode of Inside Texas Politics below:

Editor's note: This story incorrectly stated that President Biden's Build Back Better Act passed on Friday. It has been corrected to reflect that the infrastructure plan was passed by the House on Friday.