Congress advances Biden agenda

The US House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and Labor voted last week to advance its portion of the Build Back Better Act, the section of President Joe Biden’s plan that invests in lowering costs for families, helping workers secure good-paying jobs in the United States, and providing a strong foundation for America’s children. 

These investments include a historic proposal to make child care affordable for families and provide free, universal, high-quality pre-K to three- and four-year-olds. 

“Committee Democrats have taken a major step toward delivering a transformative investment in our families and in our future,” said Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott“The provisions in the Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act will lower costs for nearly every American family, secure good-paying jobs for millions of American workers, and set a strong foundation for America’s children. I want to congratulate and thank my colleagues for their hard work on this historic proposal.” 

The Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act will:

  • Lower the cost of child care and secure universal pre-K for three- and four-year-olds
  • Lower the cost of higher education by funding two years of tuition-free community college and increasing the value Pell Grants,
  • Strengthen our public schools by helping school districts repair, modernize, or rebuild crumbling and outdated school buildings,
  • Help workers secure good-paying jobs by expanding job training programs, and
  • Help prevent child hunger by expanding our most effective child nutrition programs.

All Democrats on the committee voted to advance the section of the Build Back Better Act, while every Republican voted in opposition. 

“Working families across the country are facing a child care crisis,” said Lisa McCormick, a progressive New Jersey Democrat who monitored the panel’s deliberations. “The Build Back Better Act invests roughly $450 billion in lowering the cost of child care and securing universal pre-K for three-and four-year-olds. This historic investment will lower the cost of child care for working families, expand the availability of high-quality child care, and raise wages for child care workers.”

While McCormick said she would like to see a broader repeal of the ill-fated trickle-down policies that have guided American government since the Republican administration of Ronald Reagan, Biden’s package makes the greatest investment in long-neglected facets of the US economy in decades.

“I have been calling for Democrats to embrace the idea of reversing Reaganomics, because that set of policies had a revolutionary impact on our society and it has been an unmitigated disaster,” said McCormick. “America has a national debt approaching $30 trillion dollars, there are fewer good jobs, and our roads are crumbling because government neglected investments in everything except our military. The gulf between rich and poor has made upward mobility near impossible, and that is the predictable and intended result of Reaganomics.”

“Still, President Biden’s Build Back Better plan is the most significant investment in our country in decades and people should pressure Republicans and renegade Democrats to drop their opposition, since it moves the top tax rate on Americans earning over $435,000 from 37 percent to 39.6 percent and bumps the corporate tax rate up from the current rate of 21 percent to 26.5 percent for large profitable businesses,” said McCormick. “Making the super-wealthy pay an extra two to six percent in taxes is a smaller sacrifice than forcing families to live on half the income they need.”

McCormick said the economy was booming when top income tax rates were 70 to 90 percent, and corporate taxes made up a far greater share of federal spending and she likened Reaganomics to “America’s economic suicide.”

For a fact sheet on the Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act, click here.

For text of the Committee’s print of the Build Back Better Act, click here.

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