We’ve been advocating for the Build Back Better Act to be passed as soon as possible. Where does it stand now and where do we go from here?
In 2021, nearly 100,000 Oxfam supporters advocated for COVID-19 recovery that addresses the root causes of poverty and injustice. We have been demanding that our elected officials pass the Build Back Better Act in order to invest in child care, paid leave, climate action, equitable vaccines access, fossil-free energy, and more paid for by making billionaires pay their fair share. This piece of legislation, in its original form, had the potential to be one of the United States’ best opportunity for tackling inequality at its root.
The Build Back Better Act has been put through the ringer, as politics in DC continues to get in the way of the best interests of everyday people. So where do things stand now? At Oxfam we are dedicated to bringing our supporters along with us in the fight against inequality, no matter how hard a road it is.
Here are three things to know about the economic recovery package.
What is happening
The Build Back Better Act is President Biden’s $1.9 trillion-dollar economic recovery plan dedicated to investing in child care, health care, and climate action, paid for by reforming our tax system so the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share. The bill passed in House of Representatives and has been going through adjustments and debates in the Senate for several months.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the last few months, you’ve probably heard the names Manchin and Sinema a lot lately. These Senators are the last two Democratic holdouts on voting for the Build Back Better Act and remain the final hurdles to passage in the Senate in the face of unified Republican opposition. The resulting debates have meant that key elements like paid leave and an end to fossil fuel subsidies are no longer part of the recovery package.
As the bill continues to get renegotiated, it is likely that it will be voted on in pieces—as opposed to the whole package—in order to get some of the most crucial elements passed, though in diminished ways. It’s not exactly what we hoped for or what you—our supporters—have been fighting so hard for, but there are reasons to optimistic as the Senate moves forward on parts of the agenda.
What are we optimistic about
While things may still change, currently, some key issues we’ve been fighting for remain in the recovery package. We are hopeful that many of these things will get passed either through the whole package or piece by piece. Some elements of the bill we are excited about are:
- Raised taxes on the very wealthy
- Increased funding for access to child care and universal pre-k
- Climate investments such as clean-energy tax credits
- Investments in communities for resiliency and climate mitigation
We are also very optimistic about the growing movement of individuals and communities who recognize that our systems are broken and change is needed. Tens of thousands of people signed our petitions in support of care workers and taxing the wealthy and called on Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act. So many people are being moved toward action and are raising their voices to hold the powerful accountable. This is a huge cause for hope especially in the midst of the trying times we are all facing, and we look forward to continuing to advocate alongside partners, allies, and supporters.
What are we still fighting for
To put it simply, we are still fighting for this transformational piece of legislation to pass in the Senate. It has been very disappointing to watch our elected officials drag their feet while people are struggling to make ends meet. It is more important than ever to keep the pressure on those in power to do the right thing.
A recent Oxfam report found that inequality kills at least one person every four seconds. Time is of the essence, and our members of Congress must provide people with the support they need before it’s too late. While we remain hopeful that this recovery package will pass in some form or another, no matter what, Oxfam is committed to fighting inequality and we know that you are too.
Let’s turn up the heat on those in Congress and let them know loud and clear that we will not stop fighting for more just and equal systems.