AFT President Weingarten Calls President Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Bold and Momentous
Sarah Hager Mosby
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after President Joe Biden introduced the American Jobs Plan. The American Jobs Plan is a continuation of the Biden administration’s “Build Back Better” agenda, which began with the enactment of the American Rescue Plan. The American Jobs Plan is a $2 trillion comprehensive investment in our country that will create millions of good jobs and rebuild our infrastructure while addressing climate and equity issues:
“This infrastructure proposal has the potential to create and maintain many more good-paying jobs and modernize and improve our economy and our public schools, and in so doing, help many more people thrive. While the emergency COVID-19 and economic aid package that President Biden signed into law just weeks ago was desperately needed relief to get shots in arms and help struggling Americans and our schools, states and localities, this bold jobs plan conceived through the lens of opportunity and equity is intended to build back better—from rescue to recovery. It’s the actual fuel to jump-start our economic engine and help create a better life for our families and our communities.
“Anyone who has had an asthma attack in school because of mold or poor ventilation or couldn’t drink water in a school water fountain because of lead in the piping; anyone who has struggled because of poor transportation access, crumbling roads, the lack of affordable housing or high-speed internet, or the lack of needed home health care to take care of a dad or mom in their dying days knows the importance of the measures in this infrastructure package. From $100 billion toward K-12 public school infrastructure to $12 billion for community colleges to upgrade their technology and infrastructure to $45 billion to replace all lead pipes and service lines in this country, this plan makes a down payment on our woefully underinvested infrastructure. It reimagines our schools and communities well into the 21st century and meets our moment of serious crises with bold solutions.
“And more than just a plan to fix physical buildings, this plan reflects a deep understanding of the pain and obstacles families face—whether they are poor or middle class—and the aspirations we all have for our children and our families. Biden plans to invest in our nation’s care infrastructure by addressing our most pressing social challenges, ensuring that there are high-quality union jobs throughout the economy, and providing a better and fairer society for all Americans. Examples of this include the proposal to invest $48 billion for advanced training for millions of workers to provide young people the skills and training they need for good, long-term union jobs in innovative industries like wind and solar energy, and the $400 billion investment in the home-care workforce to expand access to quality, affordable home- or community-based care for aging relatives and people with disabilities.
“This big plan will require big funding, achieved by reforming our tax code to bring back the state and local tax deduction and requiring big businesses to pay their fair share. Wealthy corporations have a moral obligation to invest in this country and its workers—the result will be a healthier and successful 21st-century economy.
“We thank President Biden for his bold vision of creating a better future for all Americans and look forward to future plans to invest in our communities. Congress has a historic opportunity to rebuild our economy and create a sustainable future where every American can thrive, not just the wealthy few. And this includes passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act so that the voices of working people are heard and our nation’s economy works for all of us. We urge Congress to heed the call to meet the severity of our current crises with serious, bold solutions.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.