As House Passes Historic Plan to Help Families and Communities Thrive, AFT Urges Senate to Act Swiftly
Sarah Hager Mosby
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act, a jobs and human infrastructure plan that lifts the burden on working people; lowers the costs of prescription drugs, child care and senior care; expands healthcare access; and helps put college in reach for millions of families:
“For too many families in America, life has been an endless cycle of barely making ends meet and gut-wrenching decisions—piecing together jobs, child and elder care, school, housing, prescription costs, healthcare and transportation, while living with the constant fear of a medical emergency or other unplanned expense. And the pandemic has only exacerbated these fears. We hear this all the time from our members—nurses, bus drivers, public employees, teachers—many of whom are parents and had hoped their jobs would land them in the middle class. The truth is, our economy has very few systems to address these kitchen-table issues to help systemically advantage regular working people, and the Trump administration only made it worse when it took away the state and local tax deduction, double taxing many in the middle class
“Thankfully, this bill begins to change that, with historic down payments on the very things working families rely on most: prekindergarten, so kids can access learning at a young age, which we know 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; investments in postsecondary students and institutions, so that a higher education is more affordable and accessible; paid family leave, so millions of workers have the ability to care for a new child or an ill family member without losing a paycheck; affordable healthcare, so people can access the care and prescription medication they need; housing, so no one is impoverished by 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.
“Now the Senate must follow the House’s lead in passing this bill, demonstrate to the American voters that their government is ready to work, and turn the page to make every investment possible that will give a future to our families and help recreate a middle class in America. This cannot wait.”
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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.