On Friday, November 19, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip, a senior member of the House Budgets Committee and a co-chair of the House Democratic Task Force on Aging and Family, released the following after the House of Representatives passed it Explanation: HR 5376, President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, with 220-213 votes:
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Schakowsky Office)
“Today I proudly voted for and helped pass President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, a bill that makes long overdue investments in the American people. The name – Build Back Better – is meaningful: we need to build better from before the COVID-19 pandemic. In the richest country in the world, seniors shouldn’t have to leave the pharmacy table because they can’t afford their life-saving medication. Black, Hispanic, and other women of color shouldn’t have to put their lives and souls into caring just for a priceless reward. Nobody should be forced out of working life because a relative falls ill and is not entitled to paid family and sick leave. Nobody should have to drink toxic water from lead pipes or be forced into homelessness due to a lack of affordable housing.
“As sociologist Jessica Calarco said, ‘Other countries have robust social safety nets; the United States has women. ‘ The Build Back Better Act does just that – it rebuilds America to where we should be in the world and relieves the economic and social burdens women have carried for generations.
“For too long, Americans have paid three to four times more for prescription drugs than people in any other country. Meanwhile, Big Pharma has admitted that it is making a profit even after other governments negotiate prescription drug prices. The Build Back Better Act finally gives Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices, cap out-of-pocket prescribing costs for seniors to $ 2,000 per year and insulin to $ 35 per month. The bill also invests in the physical infrastructure of community health centers, which have been on the front lines for over 50 years, serving underserved communities.
“There are at least 19,000 seniors and people with disabilities in Illinois on waiting lists for essential home care. We face a shortage of caregivers with the majority of paid caregivers being Black, Latin American and Asian immigrant women who don’t even have access to a sick day. The Build Back Better Act provides a down payment to grow the care industry, provides $ 150 billion in Medicaid home and community services, and creates high-paying union jobs. The bill also includes $ 1.2 billion to invest in programs for seniors under the Older Americans Act, including nutrition and long-term care support services. These intergenerational investments will help caregivers return to work without fear for the health and safety of their aging loved ones and ensure low-income and vulnerable seniors do not starve in the world’s richest country.
“As we look to the future, we must also address the dire crisis of maternal and infant mortality. In Illinois, black women are six to seven times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than their white counterparts. The Build Back Better Act includes the “MOMnibus” to invest in training and recruiting more mothers and perinatal nurses and doulas. The bill provides funding for continuing medical education programs in children’s hospitals, such as the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, to address the shortage of pediatricians. It also includes funding maternal mental health programs and training for healthcare professionals to identify and address environmental and climate change risks to mothers and babies.
“The Build Back Better Act makes historic investments in environmental justice and clean energy. It invests $ 3 billion in community-led projects to address the disproportionate damage to the environment and health related to pollution and climate change. It also spans billions of dollars to incentivize clean energy and help the United States achieve its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. With transport one of the largest producers of greenhouse gases, the legislature is investing over $ 25 billion in green transportation, including transit, electric vehicles, and zero-emission technologies.
“The Build Back Better Act also recognizes that safe drinking water is a human right. Many of our communities are facing a lead crisis and Illinois is no exception. Illinois has more than 680,000 leading service lines – most of all states in the nation. The Build Back Better Act is allocating $ 10 billion to help fix this toxic problem and protect our drinking water.
“Housing costs continue to rise nationwide at record rates. This bill helps those who need it most by investing $ 35 billion in affordable housing and $ 24 billion in rental subsidies. This is the largest one-time expansion of rental subsidies since 1974 and will help more than 260,000 families over the next eight years. It also provides over $ 7 billion to help tackle homelessness and $ 65 billion to repair and improve public housing.
“This historic bill is also making huge investments in our nation’s children and students by extending the landmark Biden Child Tax Credit and providing universal free Pre-K to all 3 and 4 year olds. In Illinois, this means expanding free preschool to more than 250,000 additional 3- and 4-year-olds per year and improving the quality of preschool for children already enrolled. It also makes college more accessible by increasing the Pell Grant maximum award by $ 550. The bill also includes major investments to tackle child hunger by extending free school meals and providing summer electronic power delivery benefits to low-income children.
“Finally, I am disappointed that the House version of the Build Back Better Act does not provide a route to citizenship, but offers lasting and meaningful protection for our immigrant communities. It includes deportation protection and renewable work permits for an estimated 7 million people, and provides stability and peace of mind for millions of families. We mustn’t forget, this is just the beginning. We won’t stop fighting until we find a route to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.
“Build Back Better is about building and strengthening the backbone of our country – our women, our workers and our immigrant communities. It’s about investing in Americans and their futures. I am proud to join this effort and look forward to getting the Build Back Better Act into law. “
Source: Office of MP Jan Schakowsky