Biden’s Build Back Better Plan Will Cut Costs and Help Families

Twelve months ago, we were lunging toward a third wave in the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals were overwhelmed as families said goodbye over the phone to their loved ones. Parents – especially mothers – were working nonstop to juggle their children’s distance learning with their own careers. Small businesses were straining under the weight of ever-changing consumer behavior that threatened to close their doors for good. And many others were looking for work, unable to find it.

The pandemic alone was not the cause of the chaos. Rather, COVID-19 was a shock to a system that was already in desperate need of repair because, for decades, our country has neglected to invest properly in its people, to ensure that the economy was working for every family and to give everyone the opportunity to succeed.

So when Joe Biden and congressional Democrats swept into office, we came with a simple promise: to build America back better. We are well on our way toward delivering on that promise – and Californians stand to gain more than ever.

Earlier this month, President Biden signed a historic bipartisan infrastructure package into law to fix the problems we can see in our everyday lives. As you read this, tens of billions of dollars are being prepared just for California alone. Californians are going to get their roads repaired and their buses and trains upgraded. They’re going to get high-speed internet, no matter where they live, and drinking water free of chemicals and lead. And as we improve our infrastructure, we will speed the delivery of goods, address the supply chain problems and help tamp down inflation.

Our communities will see modernized ports and airports. Parents will be able to send their children to school on electric school buses – and worry less about what they’re breathing on the way there. We’ll see a nationwide network of electric vehicle chargers to help make EVs more accessible for all. Our state will receive resources to help it be better prepared for wildfires, drought and other extreme weather events fueled by climate change.

But it is not enough to invest in our infrastructure. We must invest in the people who use it as well. And last week, the House took a monumental step by passing the Build Back Better Act. With this bill, families will have access to universal pre-kindergarten. Seniors will save on prescription drugs, health insurance and hearing aids, putting important downward pressure on prices. More people will have access to rental and down payment assistance that will ease the state’s crippling affordable housing crisis. People will be able to take paid family and medical leave to care for their loved ones. They’ll breathe healthier air and put less toward their utility bills thanks to clean energy like wind and solar across the state. And we’ll begin to fight the worst impacts of the climate crisis (though much more will remain to be done.)

Most importantly, thanks to both of these bills, Californians are going to keep hard-earned money in their pockets – money they’ve had to spend on daycare and home care, insulin and asthma inhalers, car maintenance and home repairs. More help for families and workers – right when they need it most.

Now the Senate must immediately pass the Build Back Better Act and send it to President Biden’s desk. The benefits of this bill will reverberate through our communities for generations: thriving families, a booming economy, a safer planet and a renewed promise of the California Dream.

We have come a long way in the last 12 months, but we still have so much more to be done. Half of the country’s children who live in poverty have been lifted out of poverty – but half remain, hungry and in need. So let us finish the job we started and give a new generation a new deal, worthy of the name and its proud legacy.