WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) and 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. Rep. Grijalva issued the following statement:
“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 towards 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 the American people and we will keep moving forward. ”
Led by President Biden and Democrats in Congress, the Build Back Better Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Package will be transformative for nearly every Arizona family: delivering historic investments that meet their needs in the wake of the pandemic and will ensure that all can share in the benefits of a growing economy now, and for generations to come. These needs include:
- Childcare: the average annual cost for childcare in Arizona is $8,544. The Build Back Better framework will expand access for thousands of young Arizonans and ensure that no Arizona family pays more than seven percent of their income on childcare.
- Early education: only 53% percent of 3- and 4-year-olds in Arizona have access to publicly funded pre-K, while the average cost of private pre-K in the state is $6,826. The Build Back Better framework will expand access to free, high-quality pre-K to tens of thousands of young Arizonans – setting these children up for lifelong success and saving their parents thousands of dollars.
- Lower prescription drug costs: Curbs the pharmaceutical industry’s greed and profiteering by allowing Medicare to negotiate down prices on some of the highest-cost drugs, a policy supported by nearly 90 percent of Americans. It will cap insulin at $35 for a month’s supply, a life-saving measure for those with diabetes who are currently forced to pay upwards of $200 per vial. It ensures seniors will not pay more than $2,000 out of pocket for their drugs annually, and it will impose a tax penalty on drug companies that increase their prices faster than inflation.
- Health care: by closing the Medicaid gap, expanding Medicare to include hearing care and extending lower premiums for insurance purchased through the ACA, the Build Back Better framework will help many Arizonans gain coverage and many more Arizona families save hundreds on health costs each year – while also making home health care for elderly parents or loved ones with disabilities more affordable and accessible.
- Lower taxes: before Democrats secured the expanded Biden Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan, 19.1% percent of Arizona children lived in poverty. The Build Back Better framework extends this life-changing tax cut and continues our historic progress toward reducing child poverty. If the bill becomes law, in 2022 federal taxes would go up for the average taxpayer among the richest one percent and down for the average taxpayer in other income groups.
- Climate impacts: Arizona has experienced numerous extreme weather events over the last decade, which has cost Arizona families more than $3.5 billion. By reducing carbon pollution, bolstering community resilience and strengthening the American clean energy economy, the Build Back Better framework will create good-paying union jobs, advance environmental justice and save Arizona families the steep costs of recovery.
- Justice40 Initiative: A whole-of-government effort to ensure that Federal agencies work with states and local communities to make good on President Biden’s promise to deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from Federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.
- Paid family and medical leave: Provides paid family leave for Arizona working people and families to take up to four weeks to care for their babies or sick family members in times of hardship. This policy will help rebuild a more resilient, stronger and inclusive workforce and give people the time they need to care for themselves and their families.
- The Build Back Better Act also makes generational investments in higher education, workforce training, affordable housing, nutrition assistance and more.
- Transportation and Infrastructure: Arizona is expected to receive $883 million over five years under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve public transportation options across the state and minimum allocation of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the at least 353,000 Arizonans who currently lack it.