What They Are Reading in the States: Biden-Harris Officials Highlight Impact of Build Back Better for Communities Nationwide

Over the past week, Biden-Haris officials and local elected officials fanned out across the local airwaves — from Detroit to Denver – to highlight how the Build Back Better Framework will impact working families across the country. In a series of local press interviews, officials touted how the framework will lower the costs of things families depend on, help people get back to work, and grow the economy.

See below for excerpts from their local press coverage.

California

Los Angeles Times: Federal Build Back Better legislation would have local benefits
[Mayor Farrah N. Khan, 11/2/21]

We are at a critical junction in American politics. The federal bipartisan Build Back Better Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are more than budget line items to support our economy, they are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to impact the lives of Americans and improve the physical and human infrastructure of our cities. I, along with my Orange County delegation of mayors, urge all our Congressional representatives to complete their work and immediately pass these two landmark pieces of legislation that will help every city in Orange County.

I am joined in this position by fellow mayors across Orange County, including Vincent Sarmiento of Santa Ana, Connor Traut of Buena Park, Shari Horne of Laguna Woods, Bob Whalen of Laguna Beach, Kim Carr of Huntington Beach, Tiffany Ackley of Aliso Viejo, John Stephens of Costa Mesa and Letitia Clark of Tustin.

If we are truly to build back better, then we need these funds today. Our roads, health and childcare situations cannot improve without the support of the federal government. Today, we stand united to send a clear message to Washington — pass these bills without further delay. The local benefits of this legislation include:

  • Funding for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects, including bridge repair, replacement and rehabilitation;
  • Programs related to transportation safety, reducing crashes and fatalities, especially of cyclists and pedestrians; modernization of public transit and expansion to meet rider demand;
  • Plans to initiate climate and clean energy investments, cut more greenhouse gas emissions by 2030; provide tax credits to Americans buying new electric vehicles and tax incentives to encourage the installation of solar panels; rebuild the electric grid and expand renewable energy; upgrade water infrastructure, including protection from droughts and cyberattacks;
  • Provisions to build or improve more affordable housing units and help with rental and down payment assistance;
  • Expanded healthcare coverage, lower premiums, the inclusion of hearing services with Medicare;
  • Universal preschool, subsidized childcare, and a one-year extension of the current expanded Child Tax Credit;
  • Improved broadband infrastructure that will close the digital divide and provide quality service to all.

These are just some of the critical funding opportunities proposed by President Biden that will directly benefit Orange County. We look forward to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate sending these bills to the president’s desk and bringing home these much-needed funds. Our residents and businesses can wait no longer, and we as leaders are ready to deliver, but Congress must act today.

Farrah N. Khan is the mayor of Irvine.

Colorado

KMGH (ABC) Denver: A look at how Biden’s new spending plan could affect Colorado
[Meghan Lopez, 10/28/21]

The new proposal also promises to help with childcare by limiting its cost to no more than 7% of a family’s income. This would apply to people earning up to 250% of the state’s median income.

The plan also calls for an extension of the federal expanded child tax credit by one year for families earning up to $150,000 annually and makes the credit permanently refundable. Colorado is already planning its own state child tax credit in 2022.

The new Biden plan also promises more investments in clean energy, funding for a Civilian Climate Corps and more electric vehicle charging stations among other promises — things Colorado has already started to implement without the federal help.

Michigan

WNEM (Flint-Saginaw): US Secretary of Labor: Build Back Better Agenda good for Michigan
[Trevor Sochocki and Anna Muckenfuss, 11/2/21]
The Biden administration is pushing its Build Back Better agenda as negotiations reach their final stages. The bills provide funding for a variety of services, like job training, childcare, and affordable housing. TV5 spoke with the United States Secretary of Labor about what Michiganders can expect from the legislation.

The White House said its framework will help the state provide access to childcare for more than half a million kids up to age five.

“Many families in Michigan are struggling right now because they’re paying 30, 40, 50, 60 percent of their weekly salary for childcare if they have more than one child, and sometimes that one child as well, so it really is an opportunity, it’s an investment there,” said Martin Walsh.

WZZM (ABC 13 Grand Rapids, MI): Labor Secretary, West Michigan Republican talk ‘Build Back Better’
[Nick LaFave, 11/2/21]
Secretary Walsh: “Yeah, and this is kind of this is a tremendous investment in childcare. Anyone watching right now, that has kids will understand this many, many families, individuals, mothers or fathers. They’re paying, you know, anywhere from 30, 40, 50% of their weekly salary for childcare. And quite honestly, lots of people are rethinking… Wait a second, why am I working for 50%, when I could actually take care of my children at home?… and because they don’t have strong quality childcare.

“So this, this is definitely an opportunity to change, change for the American worker, it also invest in to be specific, any family’s individual family earning under $300,000, will pay a max of 7%, for the childcare. So that that’s number one.

“Number two would make an investment also in the workforce in childcare, and job training… And then a compliment piece of this is also universal pre kindergarten. For three and four year olds, I did it in Boston, as mayor, I did four year old pre kindergarten, it was a game changer for 1000s of families. And I think that in so at the end of the day, you’re creating a system that’s a stronger system for childcare, but you’re also getting a better system for our kids. So when they get into school, they’re more prepared in the outcomes that studies have all shown. If you get you have universal pre kindergarten and good strong quality, high quality childcare, the outcomes for young people for their success in the future is so much better.

Missouri

St. Louis Public Radio:U.S. Education Secretary lays out how Build Back Better would affect Missouri
[Kate Grumke, 11/2/21]
Miguel Cardona: The cost of child care prevents families from growing, it prevents many of our parents from going back into the workforce and that disproportionately affects women. So in this proposal as we have the framework, families won’t pay more than 7% of their salary [for families making up to 2.5 times the state median income], which means that it allows parents to go back into the workforce and contribute more, not only to their own finances, but to the economy.

[…]

Cardona: […]You know, this plan, it was specifically designed by the president not to raise taxes on people making under $400,000 for a reason. You know, people have to pay their fair share of taxes. And, unfortunately, people that are making less are paying a higher percentage. So what we need to do is just level that out a little bit to address some of these issues that are affecting working class families. So the good news is that an overwhelming majority of families support the components of it because it helps their families. And when you add to that that it’s not going to be paid for by people that are making less than $400,000, it’s a win for those families and for our children.

North Dakota

KVRR (FOX) Fargo, ND:Biden announces Build Back Better plan, Ag Sec. says it’s good for rural America
[Austin Erickson, 10/28/21]

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says President Joe Biden’s slimmed down $1.75 trillion Build Back Better proposal would do great things for rural America. He says the plan would give a record $27 billion for conservation to allow farmers and ranchers help improve our climate. Vilsack adds $10 billion would be given to rural electric cooperatives to transition to renewable energy and possibly reduce costs to consumers. He says now is the time for Congress to pass this plan because the U.S. needs to show the world it can lead on issues like climate.

“We need to improve our roads and bridges, our ports, our inland waterways, our airports, our rail systems. We need to invest finally and completely in expanded broadband access. And, so, it’s important for these bills to get through because all of those investments will not only strengthen our physical infrastructure, they would create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs,” Vilsack said.

National Conglomerate

Spectrum News: U.S. Climate adviser: Biden’s methane plan ‘buys us time’ against climate change
[Justin Tasolides and Kevin Frey, 11/2/21] [….]

Climate, McCarthy said “is an equity issue” in the U.S., using the Build Back Better framework — Biden’s recently unveiled $1.75 trillion climate change and social spending measure — as an example.

“It’s targeted towards environmental justice communities that haven’t been invested in, that have been burdening, far, far more than their share of pollution than anyone should ever be asked to absorb,” McCarthy said of the president’s ambitious legislative plan. “So we’re looking at this as an equity challenge here and in other countries.”

[….]

McCarthy said that Biden is “very confident” the bill, along with its companion, a $1 trillion Senate-passed infrastructure bill, will pass, “because we need it.”

“It’ll pass because it’s investments in the United States of America again,” she said. “It’ll pass because it’s not just fixing climate change, but it’s growing jobs at home, and it’s providing us an opportunity for leadership that we just passed on the prior four years, we have to be back in action.”

“So this isn’t just about, you know, meeting climate commitments, which are going to be essential for us because we’re already seeing the consequences in the U.S., you can’t miss it anymore,” she said. “The wildfires, the droughts, the heat, the floods, the hurricanes.”

“We have to have an infrastructure that is resilient and adapts,” she continued. “That’s what the infrastructure bill is. But we also have to transition to a clean energy future, because that’s who’s going to win the 21st century economy.”

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