Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding progress being made towards passing President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, legislation that will lower costs for American families and provide the largest investments to date to fight climate change. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:
In the first nine days of December, Democrats have made very good progress on some of our largest priorities for the month.
We successfully avoided a needless government shutdown.
We cleared the path to address the debt ceiling and avoid a default.
We’re close to passing an annual defense bill on a bipartisan basis, as we have done for decades. Last night I filed cloture on NDAA, and for the information of my colleagues we will vote early next week to move forward on this bill.
Soon we will be able to turn to another crucial item on our December to-do list: passing Build Back Better in time for Christmas. We remain on schedule to bring this bill to the floor of the Senate before December 25th.
Yesterday, four Senate committees released their titles of the Build Back Better Act, and the Congressional Budget Office released scores for those titles. More titles and scores are scheduled to be released this week.
For the knowledge of all Senators, the text and scores can be found online at the Senate Democrats and CBO websites, so it's available to everybody.
Senate Democrats have also wrapped up all of our final meetings with the Parliamentarian’s office. Those are the meetings where just Democrats talk to the Parliamentarian. The Republicans also get their chance [to meet with the parliamentarian] alone.
And now we anticipate that the bipartisan Byrd Bath—where both sides get together and make their case to the Parliamentarian and argue back and forth—we expect those to start next week. I want to thank the Parliamentarian’s office—and all of our Committee staff—for working so hard this week to bring us to this point.
For all the reasons we should pass Build Back Better, I want to talk about one in some detail this morning: extending the child tax credit.
During the holiday season, American families are looking for every option to lower costs, make ends meet. So the best thing we can do is pass Build Back Better before some critical tax breaks from the American Rescue Plan—above all the child tax credit checks—come to a premature end.
That's one thing no American should want.
COVID isn’t over, and so these checks shouldn’t lapse either—on the contrary they should keep going!
Roughly 35 million families will get their next $300-per-child check in the mail on December 15th, and we need to assure that they’ll get their checks in January too without any glitch. As a number of outlets have reported, families are at risk of seeing these checks end after December if we don’t take action.
So let’s get this done: let’s pass and enact Build Back Better into law before Christmas so families won’t see their checks come to a halt in the coming months and families—as they're doing their Christmas shopping—can be assured that new checks will be coming over the next year.
For the tens of millions of families that have taken it on the chin during COVID, an extra $300 per month per child can be the crucial extra cushion that helps parents stand on their own two feet: that’s extra money to buy groceries, fill up the tank at the gas station, pay for diapers.
These aren’t luxuries. These are not handouts—they’re daily essentials that nobody should have to worry about in today’s day and age. In an affluent society, no one should have to worry about these. And that's what these checks do. They bring a little more fairness into our economy. They say to poorer people, you, too, can have a chance and more importantly your children can have a chance. That's part of the American Dream.
Of course Build Back Better will do more than that: it will, for example, provide the largest investments to date to fight climate change. I’ve been working with my colleagues for months to make sure our climate investments will be robust, effective, and will lay a foundation for us to keep taking action to fight the climate crisis here in Congress in the future.
Climate change costs our country tens of billions of dollars every time that storms we used to label “once-in-a-century” slam us. Build Back Better will help us address the climate crisis by lowering emissions, making our communities more resistant to disasters, and protect our planet for the next generation.
Our work on Build Back Better will keep going until we get the job done.