CHN letter to All U.S. House Members Urging Passage of Build Back Better and Infrastructure Proposals
Editor’s note: On Thursday, November 4, CHN Executive Director Deborah Weinstein sent the following letter to all U.S. House members. You can find a PDF version of the letter here.
On behalf of the Coalition on Human Needs, I strongly urge you to vote YES on the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684). Our nation needs these investments in our future.
The pandemic laid bare the economic and health insecurities of many millions of Americans. We saw how fragile our support systems were when employment plummeted and schools, child care, and care for the aging and people with disabilities could not be relied upon. But we must recognize that our vulnerabilities did not begin with the pandemic. Long-standing disparities by race, ethnicity, immigrant status, gender and income worsened, but they existed before. Failure to invest adequately in health care and nutrition, housing, education, good jobs, mitigating climate change, all forms of infrastructure, and family supports has held us back. Wildly inequitable tax policies have added to income disparities and stymied public investments.
You have the historic opportunity to redress our vulnerabilities by voting for Build Back Better and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The human service providers, faith groups, civil rights, labor, policy, and advocacy organizations that make up the Coalition on Human Needs know how much help the Build Back Better provisions would offer to our people. The Child Tax Credit (CTC) already in place is putting food on the table in millions of homes and helping families buy what children need for school. Making the CTC fully available to the poorest families on a permanent basis and restoring benefits to children with ITINs provides the help needed to achieve and sustain a forty percent reduction in child poverty. Workers with low incomes who do not have dependents will see a long-overdue increase in their Earned Income Tax Credit. The rental housing provisions will place 300,000 more households in affordable homes, a historic expansion desperately needed. Child care costs will be dramatically lowered. Education and job training is expanded, starting with universal pre-school for three- and four-year-olds and including more apprenticeships and increased Pell grants. Free school meals will be more available and summer EBT cards will be expanded so that children nationwide have enough nutritious food to eat. Home care for the aging and people with disabilities will be increased. Millions of poor people denied Medicaid would be able to receive health coverage and ACA subsidies would be continued, helping 9 million more. Maternal health care will be improved. Progress is at last being made in reducing prescription drug costs. We are very pleased that paid family and medical leave has been included to the Build Back Better bill.
Inequities have been tearing at our social fabric and weakening our economic potential. Immigrants are our neighbors and our essential workers. The pathway to citizenship in H.R. 5376 is simple justice; we also favor other protections and work permits for Dreamers, TPS recipients, farmworkers and other immigrants, and strongly oppose any efforts to reduce already limited access to benefits for immigrants. Women and all people of color will benefit from the increased pay that will accompany expansions of child care, home care, and health care. We will address the health threats to low-income communities, disproportionately people of color, by removing lead pipes from water systems and reducing environmental and climate dangers. Greater access to health care, better-paying jobs and work supports described above will reduce the disproportionate poverty among people of color.
The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the responsible and long-overdue investments in the Build Back Better and infrastructure bills are paid for by tax provisions and IRS enforcement that finally start to secure a fair share in revenues from multi-millionaires, billionaires, and corporations. This too is simple justice, and economic good sense.
Your YES vote on the Biden Build Back Better and infrastructure bills will provide protections for our people now and investments to create jobs and sustain economic growth. Every day of delay is a day in which communities do not have the resources to protect, plan, and build. Please do not delay.