WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten sent the following letter to the US House of Representatives tonight in support of H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the Build Back Better Act:
September 30, 2021
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
On behalf of the 1.7 million members of the American Federation of Teachers, I write in support of passage of H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This important legislation makes the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. It is a critical first step in moving our country forward and, with the passage of the Build Back Better Act, will enhance our competitiveness, revolutionize our education system, and make our economy and our healthcare system more sustainable, resilient and just.
While infrastructure is often thought of as the concrete and steel of roads, transit and bridges, the IIJA covers much more. The bill offers the potential to begin transforming the American economy to one that offers well-paying union jobs so working people can provide for their families. It makes progress on the climate crisis by promoting clean energy transmission and electrifying thousands of school and transit buses. And it modernizes our country’s transit, bridge and pipe systems so many more can get to work and access clean drinking water.
Passage of the IIJA must be followed by passage of the Build Back Better Act. The BBBA is a life-changing set of policies that will make a difference for Americans—from taking on the climate crises to helping families with pre-K, paid leave and child care. The $500 million in funding included in the IIJA for making public schools more environmentally friendly must be accompanied by the $82 billion in funding included in the BBBA for school safety, modernization and construction, to truly begin to tackle the challenges schools face. The infrastructure workforce training grants included in the IIJA must be accompanied by the support for teacher development and public colleges included in the BBBA.
The nation is confronting its COVID-19 crisis, and now it is time to move forward. I urge you to support the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act when they come to the floor.