How Biden 'spent' 2021: Over $3T signed into law, but he wanted trillions more

Biden hopes Congress will pass another $1.75 trillion in spending early next year

President Biden began his presidency earlier this year with high hopes of passing trillions in new spending, and while some measures were successful, some of his efforts were foiled by moderate Democrats who expressed concern over debt and rising inflation.

President Joe Biden holds his face mask and waves as he exits Air Force One at Capital Region International Airport, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci / AP Newsroom)

American Rescue Plan - $1.9 trillion

In March, Biden's first legislative victory was achieved after the House voted to pass the American Rescue Plan, a massive $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that had previously made its way through the Senate. The vote was 220 to 211 in the House, and no Republicans voted "yes" on the legislation.

No progressives voted against the bill, despite raising concerns the Senate watered down the legislation too much by eliminating the $15 minimum wage hike, lowering income eligibility for the stimulus checks and reducing the weekly unemployment checks to $300, down from $400 per week in the House version.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., update reporters on Democratic efforts to pass President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda Sept. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite / AP Newsroom)

Republicans said the legislation was unnecessary, too big and filled with unrelated liberal priorities, such as $350 billion for state and local governments.

In addition to the direct payments, the legislation included an expanded benefit to parents paying for child care worth up to $8,000 in a refundable tax credit. Other provisions of the bill included hundreds of billions for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and for schools, food programs, rental assistance and ailing industries, from airlines to concert venues.

Bipartisan infrastructure bill - $1.2 trillion

Biden's second legislative victory came in November when House lawmakers voted 228-206 to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill with 13 GOP lawmakers crossing party lines to join Democrats to vote in favor of the legislation.

The $1.2 trillion bill, which provided funding for physical infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, water pipes and broadband internet, was signed by Biden in mid-November. Senators had voted 69-30 to approve the legislation in August.


The measure passed after months of negotiations, with Democratic leaders working frantically to reach a consensus that satisfied both progressive and moderate holdouts. 

Talks nearly collapsed on several occasions, even minutes before the vote was taken. Biden also canceled a planned trip to Delaware and was directly involved in negotiations with Democratic lawmakers

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington on Monday, July 15, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

"The Squad," a group of progressive lawmakers, accounted for the only six Democrats votes against the bill. The group includes Reps. Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.

Build Back Better - $1.75 trillion

While the legislation did not make it to Biden's desk before the year concluded — or before a self-imposed Christmas deadline by Democrats — the Build Back Better Act is set to cost taxpayers close to $2 trillion if it passes.

The signature spending plan from Biden was given the nod by House Democrats after they passed the legislation, which expands child care programs, reduces health care costs, combats climate change and increases affordable housing, among other things.

Joe Biden

President Biden speaking in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, March 15, 2021, in Washington. (AP/Patrick Semansky / AP Images)

The House-passed version of the Build Back Better plan has the potential to directly impact the finances of millions of households with a series of new and expanded tax credits, as well as a new surtax on the wealthiest Americans with a personal income over $10 million, according to the White House.


Biden's spending plan has faced opposition from moderate lawmakers, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who want to limit spending and avoid adding to the federal debt.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite / AP Images)

With the Senate evenly divided between Democrats and Republican and Vice President Harris serving as the tiebreaker, Build Back Better bill needs the support of every Democratic lawmaker in order to pass, given united GOP opposition. Manchin has previously expressed concerns about the price tag on the bill, citing "sobering" cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, as well as the bill's potential to add to inflation.

Progressive lawmakers are growing increasingly frustrated over the Build Back Better stalemate. Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., mentioned Manchin by name in a Dec. 15 statement when talking about senators who are "blocking lifesaving funding" included in the bill.

"We must not undermine our power as a government nor the power of the people by placing the fate of Build Back Better at the feet of one senator: Joe Manchin," Bush said.


Earlier this month, lawmakers voted to lift the federal debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion. They expect the increase, which raises the debt ceiling to roughly $31.5 trillion, to last beyond the upcoming midterm elections and into 2023.

The current U.S. national debt figure sits at more than $29 trillion.

Thomas Barrabi, Credible's Erika Giovanetti, and Fox News' Marisa Schultz contributed to this article.