Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the progress being made toward passing President Biden’s Build Back Better Act before Christmas. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
In the first few days of December, we’ve successfully avoided a government shutdown. We’ve cleared the path, hopefully, for addressing the debt limit. And—as I mentioned—I am optimistic that NDAA will soon be settled.
None of these are easy accomplishments, but we are clearing the path for Democrats to turn to our biggest domestic priority of the year: passing President Biden’s Build Back Better Act before Christmas.
Later today, four Senate committees will release the final text of their portions of Build Back Better, along with CBO scores for each, as required by the reconciliation process. Those four committees are Commerce, Small Business, Banking and Housing, and Veterans Affairs.
In the meantime I continue to hold daily conversations with my Democratic colleagues, with the White House, with the Speaker and House colleagues. We continue to make good progress and we’re still on track to vote on a final product before Christmas.
The sooner we can pass Build Back Better, the better off American families will be as we start the New Year. This bill has always been about a simple goal: cutting costs for working and middle-class families.
People are complaining about higher costs. They're right to do that. This bill actually lowers costs in many different areas and will help families who are trying to make ends meet and stretch those dollars.
Let me give you some examples.
Families are still struggling to pull themselves out of a once-in-a-century economic crisis brought about by COVID.
They want to pay less for things like health care, prescription drugs, child care. Some of the biggest costs average middle-income and working families have.
They want us to find ways to make that happen.
And that’s exactly what Build Back Better does.
America, you want lower costs? Tell your Senators to vote for Build Back Better.
If we invest in American families, then we make it easier for them to work, to be productive, to flourish in society. And that makes our country stronger and lowers costs in the long-term.
One of the great problems, we're told, is shortage of workers. One of the greatest reasons for the shortage of workers is lack of good child care. People can't go to work if they have to look after their kids. And in this COVID era, a lot of the patterns that used to happen don't happen anymore.
Making child care affordable will help bring people back to work, get our economy humming along again, and deal with some of the bottlenecks in certain areas, in certain industries, which is creating inflation.
Helping families afford child care of course saves parents money, but it goes a long way towards alleviating our labor shortage. If parents don’t have to worry about how they’ll keep their kids safe during the day, they’ll have greater flexibility to re-enter the workforce and increase the country’s output.
That lowers inflation.
In the long term, everyone wins: kids, parents, employers and the entire economy.
This single investment alone is enough reason to keep pushing Build Back Better, but there are so many others. One of the greatest costs we face is prescription drug costs. That’s what families complain about above all. This bill goes a long way to making prescription drugs cost less.
Another great cost people are complaining about, the rising costs of housing. This bill puts more money into housing, to both rehabilitate housing that is deteriorated—putting them back into the marketplace in a real way—and creating new housing. It will reduce the dramatic increase in housing costs.
So you want to talk about inflation, you want to talk about people having to pay more, this bill is an antidote in so many areas. I mentioned child care, health care, and housing just to name a few, but there are many others as well.
So we’re going to keep working to get this bill done. It is so important to working families and to America.
To working families: less expenses, [making it] easier to make that dollar stretch when they sit down Friday night after dinner and say how are we going to pay the bills this week?
To America: relieving bottlenecks and making sure that our economy hums along at a rapid rate where people are getting good wages, but the bottlenecks—caused often by COVID—are reduced.