Originally published in the Arizona Daily Star.
House Democrats passed President Biden’s historic legislative agenda with the passage of the Build Back Better Act. Coupled with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package, the bills will meet the urgent needs of families in Arizona and across the nation by creating jobs, cutting taxes and lowering costs.
My vote in favor of the packages is a vote of full faith in President Biden’s ability to deliver generational investments for working people, families and our children. The bipartisan infrastructure law will create good paying jobs for Arizonans, rebuild our nation’s failing infrastructure, replace dangerous lead water lines, invest in fast and reliable broadband and spur the American economy. On its own, however, the infrastructure package fails to fully address climate change, but coupled with the Build Back Better Act, we can begin the start of a longer effort to build a more sustainable America we know is possible.
The Build Back Better Act lays a foundation for the future we want to build for our children and grandchildren. It is a robust, transformative investment for working and middle-class families that we need. It is the desperately needed first step to address the existential threat of climate change. The legislation directly responds to the real life needs of my constituents by lowering prescription drug costs, providing paid family and medical leave, expanding tax benefits for lower- and middle-income families, providing workforce development programs, affordable housing, universal pre-K and more. The bill will reduce racial disparities and move us toward a more equitable and competitive future. A future that works for everyone, not just the very wealthy.
The latest immigration provisions provided in the Build Back Better Act are an incremental step forward, but more action is needed from the White House and Senate. While the bill provides protections from deportation and allows more than 7 million people to receive renewable work permits, it does not grant a permanent solution that would provide a pathway to citizenship. The White House must take executive action to supplement the protections provided by this legislation and attempt to fill in the gaps in reform needed in immigration policy. The Senate has failed to eliminate the filibuster and take action on the House-passed immigration legislation that would provide undocumented immigrants the certainty they long have needed. It must immediately take up the American Dream and Promise Act and Farm Workforce Modernization Act to provide a comprehensive pathway to citizenship and ensure lasting protections for “dreamers,” TPS holders, farm workers and many more undocumented workers who have been integral to our nation’s economy and recovery throughout the pandemic.
When Democrats assumed the majority in Congress and won the presidency, the American public put their trust in us to make transformational changes for families across this nation. The Senate, including my home state senators, must act.
Despite unified opposition by the Republican Party to progress and their attempts to move us backward, we are putting the nation on track for a brighter future. Of course, the Build Back Better agenda is not perfection, but it’s progress and historical investments in our nation’s future. We cannot and will not accept the status quo. The Build Back Better agenda is a victory for Arizona and the American people, and we will keep moving forward.