WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement in response to reports that Congress has reached an agreement on a historic jobs and infrastructure plan.
“When President Joe Biden was elected, he promised to help ‘build back better’— both to help our country recover, and to help families better their lives with opportunity, regardless of who they are and where they live. With the framework announced today, America has a chance to do just that. The investments these bills make together will be transformational for nearly every working family, affecting how they work, live, care for their loved ones and plan for their futures. They make good on the ultimate promise that government can problem-solve to make people’s lives better.
“For too many families in America, life is an endless cycle of barely making ends meet—piecing together jobs, child and elder care, school, housing, healthcare and transportation, while living with the constant fear of a medical emergency or other unplanned expense. Today, our economy has very few systems to help systematically advantage regular people, putting the middle class increasingly out of reach.
“But this plan begins to change that, with historic down payments on the very things people rely on most: pre-K, so kids can access learning at a young age, which leads to long-lasting, multigenerational economic benefits; child tax credits, and child and elder care, so parents can afford to work or go to college and families aren’t bankrupted when a parent falls ill or needs long-term care; housing, so no one must spend their entire income on rent and more Americans can put a roof over their heads; tax reforms, so the wealthy pay their fair share and communities aren’t penalized for investing in public services; and sustainability, so we can address the climate realities we’re facing. This agreement tackles challenges head on through smart, overdue investments in climate change mitigation and the human infrastructure of our country—our families, our kids and our future.
“Any transformational change is hard to get done, and this historic compromise is no different. It’s disappointing that Republicans sat on their hands when it came to figuring out how to tackle climate sustainability, address certain family needs and support those who work in the care economy. Thankfully, Democrats, led by President Biden, kept their eyes on the prize.
“Our nation needs this long-term investment, which will enhance our competitiveness, strengthen our education system, and make our economy and our healthcare system more sustainable, resilient and just. Congress must move forward and pass the Build Back Better Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and lead our country forward in this critical moment.”