WASHINGTON — Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) led nearly 60 lawmakers from across the Democratic Caucus in calling on Congressional leadership to go big, bold, and fast in the next legislative package. Urging Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer to ensure that Congress enacts “as robust and comprehensive a Build Back Better package as possible,” the legislators wrote that the package should focus on a robust size of public investments, ambitious scope — combining both physical and social investments — in addressing long standing Democratic priorities, and rapid speed.
The lawmakers shared three priorities for consideration as Congress develops Build Back Better legislation:
- Go Big: “Given the scale of our unemployment, caregiving, health care, climate and inequality crises; the historically low cost to make the necessary investments our country needs; and the singular governing opportunity presented to us, we urge our colleagues in Congress to pursue a larger up-front investment that truly meets this historic moment.”
- Go Bold: “While bipartisan support is welcome, the pursuit of Republican votes cannot come at the expense of limiting the scope of popular investments. … We ask that you work with the White House to prioritize transformative legislation that our voters were promised, which may require reforming or even eliminating the Senate filibuster”
- Go Fast: “We believe that robust legislation comprising the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan must be enacted as rapidly as possible, preferably as a single, ambitious package combining physical and social investments hand in hand.”
The lawmakers also called for bold investments in climate action, caregiving, manufacturing, and other infrastructure priorities. Additionally, they cited President Biden’s ambitious campaign proposals as well as research demonstrating that infrastructure can pay for itself by increasing productivity, efficiency, and consumer demand.
Signatories reflect a full range of voices among the House Democratic caucus, including members of the Progressive Caucus, the New Democrat Coalition, the Blue Dog Coalition, and House Leadership.
“People across America delivered Democrats the House, the Senate, and the White House — a clear mandate for transformative change. Now, we must use this historic governing opportunity to go big, bold, and fast in order to deliver for them,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “With Mitch McConnell declaring that one hundred percent of his focus is on stopping this new administration, a Build Back Better plan with Republican support cannot come at the expense of real climate action, equity and opportunity for marginalized communities, and health care, child care, paid leave, and strong labor standards that make a real impact in the lives of people throughout this country.”
“For far too long, our nation has gone without the appropriate funding for our infrastructure,” said Congressman Panetta. “Now more than ever, we need ambitious investments in all of our communities that can put Americans back to work as we address the challenges of the 21st century. It’s time for a bold Build Back Better package that builds on President Joe Biden’s transformative vision with sweeping investments in our infrastructure, job creation, and the future of the American family.”
The lawmakers’ call for a big, bold, and fast Build Back Better package is also supported by local, state, and national organizations across the country.
“SEIU members and worker leaders in the Fight for $15 and a Union have spent more than a year on the frontlines of the COVID pandemic as home care providers, nursing home workers, janitors, airport workers, educators, fast food workers and other essential workers risking their lives to keep the country fed, clean, safe, and healthy,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “Today, we stand ready to work with the Biden administration to build an inclusive, resilient country where every family can thrive. That’s why we’re calling for Congress to prioritize the bold, transformative investments in the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan, including the investment in the Black, brown, and immigrant women who do the bulk of care work in our country. The recommendations for scope, size and speed outlined in this letter recognizes the realities working families continue to face during this pandemic and paints a clearer roadmap for rebuilding a nation that will be better than before.”
“While our leaders are haggling over price tags, Americans are bearing the burdens of life threatening economic, climate, and racial crises. Tackling huge challenges requires solutions, like the THRIVE Act, that are just as big in scale and just as urgent, said Kaniela Ing of People’s Action. “With every dollar we infuse into our communities, we create new jobs, mitigate the climate crisis, and build modern infrastructure so the country gets a lot safer and fairer. The message to our Democratic leaders is clear: There’s no time to lose. We want you to make the boldest investments possible to protect our families and future.”
“From the Chinese railroad workers and other immigrants who built much of this country’s physical infrastructure to today, Asian American and Pacific Islander workers have endured decades of underinvestment, erasure, exclusion, and discrimination,” said Alvina Yeh, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO. “Our communities cannot get back to work without childcare, long-term care, paid leave, or investments in education and job retraining. Now is the time to go big and go bold to address long-overdue inequities for immigrant workers and workers of color. APALA strongly supports an ambitious infrastructure package that meets the scale of our unemployment, caregiving, health care, climate and inequality crises.”
“As we rebuild from the devastation of the pandemic, we have not only a historic opportunity but also a fierce moral urgency to invest in a society that cares for everyone who is part of it,” said Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Washington Director of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action. “Now is not the time to timidly compromise our future – we must be even bolder in our efforts to not simply recover from the pandemic, but transform our economy, our infrastructure, and our society.”
“We need an economic renewal plan that’s as large as the physical reality of the climate crisis, the economic reality of mass unemployment, and the structural reality of systemic racism,” said Ben Beachy, Living Economy Director, Sierra Club. “Congress should build on the strong foundation of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and increase the scale of investments to match the magnitude of the crises we face, as outlined in the broadly backed THRIVE Act. Millions of Americans are counting on Congress to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver cleaner air and water, family-sustaining jobs, healthier living conditions, bold climate action, and a more just economy.”
“Seniors and people with disabilities have paid a devastating toll in lives lost and harms faced by the pandemic,” said Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works. “Because of that, there are no louder voices calling for big and bold solutions delivered as quickly as possible to the people. After 14 months of devastation, there is no such thing as too much, for too many, or too fast.”
“We strongly support Rep. Jayapal and Rep. Panetta’s calls for the swift passage of President Biden’s American Families Plan,” said Bridget Todd, spokesperson for UltraViolet. “We cannot ‘build back better’ if women are not being paid a living wage and saddled with student debt. We will not recover from the devastation of this pandemic without more permanent investments in our children, including expanded tax credits and additional support for childcare and family care. President Biden was elected with a mandate to go big. The American Families Plan does that. Women of color especially worked tirelessly to elect Biden into office on the promise that our needs would finally become a priority. Centering women of color, Black women, Indigenous women and LGTBQ people, is a critical step to not only recover from the pandemic, but push for fundamental transformation in the fabric of our society.”
The letter is endorsed by MoveOn, Groundwork Action, Moms Rising, National Partnership for Women and Families, Social Security Works, SEIU, Time’s Up Now, The Green New Deal Network, Indivisible, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Center for Popular Democracy Action, 9 to 5, Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement and Research (CLEAR), Demos, National Women’s Law Center, Progressive Democrats of America, Main Street Alliance, Sunrise Movement, Americans for Democratic Action, Paid Leave for All, Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap, Courage California, The New York Women’s Foundation, National Association of Social Workers, Marked By COVID, Campaign for America’s Future, Equal Rights Advocates, Coalition of Labor Union Women, POWER-PAC IL, Data for Progress, Pep Talk Her, ExtendPUA.org, Sierra Club, Center for Popular Democracy, Democracy for America, Zero to Three, Our Revolution, Health Care for America Now, Tax March, UltraViolet, Immigration Hub, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Caring Across Generations, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Black to the Future Action Fund, Native Women Lead, Working Families Party, and People’s Action.
The full letter is available here.