Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding making progress with President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Senate Democrats continue our work to pass President Biden’s Build Back Better Act before Christmas.
Making progress on Build Back Better has been no small task. But sticking to our deadline will be worth it for one simple reason: at its core Build Back Better is the best shot we’ve had in decades to help families lower costs, to cut taxes for working and middle class Americans, and create good paying jobs while fighting the climate crisis.
And economists from across the ideological spectrum have said, it will not—will not—worsen inflation, something we are seeing happening across the world, not just in the US.
Here’s something just about every American can appreciate: Build Back Better will help make it cheaper for parents to raise their kids. For that alone, it is more than worth the effort.
By providing the largest investment in child care in American history, Build Back Better will make it so the vast majority of families will pay no more than 7% of their income on child care for kids under six.
That single investment could save parents hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. I think it’s a pretty great deal for American families.
It will also help our economy: everywhere you go, you hear about shortages of labor. One of the main reasons is inadequate child care. We rank way low on the list of the developed nations, the United States' provisions of child care come out near the very bottom. That's something that we cannot tolerate anymore.
And that’s just one item: Build Back Better will also provide, for the first time ever, free universal Pre-K for millions of American families. By one measure Pre-K can cost parents up to $8,600 a year per child.
Under Build Back Better, many parents will pay zero.
Think about that: universal pre-k, for the first time in US history. The greatest expansion of free education that the United States has seen in a century. When we made high schools available to everyone, it made our economy the strongest in the 20th century. We've got to learn that lesson here in the 21st century with pre-k.
Build Back Better of course will also extend the child tax credit that Democrats passed under the American Rescue Plan. This simple lifeline—a $300 check in the mail each month for each child—can be a game changer, a game changer, during the winter months, and under Build Back Better we can make sure this benefit stays in place.
And none of this approaches the many other ways that Build Back Better will save Americans money: it will provide the largest investment in affordable housing ever.
It could save Americans hundreds— even more—by making prescription drugs like insulin cheaper.
And it will take necessary and long-overdue steps to fight the climate crisis, which costs our country tens of billions each year every time hurricanes, wildfires, and floods wreak havoc across the country.
Creating Jobs, lowering costs, fighting climate change, and keeping more money in people’s pockets: these are things Americans want. These are the things Americans need and it’s what Build Back Better does.
We are going to continue working to get these things done before the Christmas Holiday.