March 31, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement regarding President Biden’s American Jobs Plan:
“Today, President Biden is making a compelling case to the American people that now is the time for comprehensive investments in our infrastructure. We applaud his vision of government as a force for good in this country and agree that bold investments in good-paying union jobs, climate action, and caregiving are essential to uplifting families and building back better.
“While President Biden’s proposal is a welcome first step, more must be done to improve on this initial framework to meet the challenges we face. We are still emerging from a deadly pandemic that has killed half a million Americans and plunged millions more into poverty, joblessness, and food insecurity. It is imperative that we act on a once-in-a-generation opportunity to use our governing majorities and build on the success of the landmark $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to enact the transformational policies that we were voted into office to deliver.
“To that end, we believe this package can and should be substantially larger in size and scope. During his campaign, President Biden committed to a ‘$2 trillion accelerated investment’ over four years on climate-focused infrastructure alone, which would set America on ‘an irreversible course to meet the ambitious climate progress that science demands.’ Today’s proposal, which includes many other priorities such as care jobs, will invest half that amount—roughly $2 trillion over eight years—or 1 percent of GDP. Given the President’s fierce resolve in passing the overwhelmingly popular American Rescue Plan earlier this month, it makes little sense to narrow his previous ambition on infrastructure or compromise with the physical realities of climate change.
“While we understand there is a separate package to be released on broader care economy supports, health care, and free college, our preference is for a single, ambitious package that would include both physical infrastructure and care infrastructure – these investments go hand-in-hand, and we need both to restore our economy and empower families. People—especially women and people of color who have suffered disproportionate job losses during this recession—can’t get back to work without child care, or long-term care, or investments in education and job retraining. This human infrastructure cannot be secondary to the physical infrastructure needs we have as a country. We have a limited window to get this done—we must seize our chance to build back better with economy-wide investments that work for working families and communities of color.
“We believe that our country is ready for an even bolder, more comprehensive and integrated plan that demonstrates the size, scope, and speed required to aggressively slash carbon pollution and avoid climate catastrophe; create millions of good, family-sustaining, union jobs; improve Americans’ health and safety; reduce racial and gender disparities; and curb income inequality by making the wealthy and large corporations finally pay their fair share in taxes. The Progressive Caucus looks forward to engaging with the White House and Congressional leadership to make all the economic and social investments that we need—with or without Republican votes—and before Congress leaves for August recess. We must act urgently to develop and pass a package that rises to the unprecedented challenges we face as a country.”