WASHINGTON — Progressives celebrated a giant step toward expanding the social safety net. Centrist Democrats secured some top legislative demands. And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy won plaudits from conservatives for a lengthy floor speech that delayed passage of the Build Back Better Act. From a political perspective, all sides had something to crow about after Friday’s largely party-line vote on the $1.7 trillion spending package. For Democrats, tensions between progressives and moderates subsided after months of infighting over policy and procedural differences relating to the safety net and infrastructure bills. Progressive fears that a faction of centrists, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., was scheming to sink the Build Back Better legislation proved unfounded. Liberals for months prevented passage of the $550 billion infrastructure bill to use as leverage before eventually relenting two weeks ago, when the House passed the bipartisan measure. Centrists in turn voted for the larger bill shortly after they received the cost estimate they wanted from the Congressional Budget Office. And with their votes, Gottheimer and others in the group secured a major policy priority in the bill by raising the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions, established by Republicans in 2017, to $80,000. The cap hits residents of high-tax states like New York and New Jersey the hardest. For some New Jerseyans, it was personal. The state sends more money to the U.S. Treasury than it receives in federal funding, and the deduction cap widened that disparity by limiting residents' tax deductions. Gottheimer, co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, celebrated the provision after the House vote. Progressives, meanwhile, were elated that the House passed a dramatic expansion of the social safety net — including universal pre-K and money for child care, housing and health care — and approved record spending to combat climate change. "This historic Build Back Better Act delivers on our promise to provide transformative investments in working people across America that will allow them to wake up feeling d . . . read the full article here.