WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) supported House-passage of the Build Back Better Act (BBB), historic legislation that creates millions of well-paying union jobs, drives long-term economic recovery and growth, and enables Northwest Washington communities to combat the climate change crisis. BBB passed the House of Representatives by a final vote of 220 to 213 and now heads to the Senate.
“Northwest Washington is defeating the pandemic, but it has not yet been defeated; the economy is recovering, but it has not yet recovered,” said Larsen. “This bold, FDR-like investment enables all Washingtonians to benefit from the economic recovery by putting more people to work, empowering working families, ensuring seniors can afford prescription drugs, building more affordable housing and combating the climate change crisis.”
According to White House estimates, the bipartisan infrastructure law and BBB together will add, on average, around 2 million U.S. jobs per year over the course of the next decade. BBB addresses many of Larsen’s local priorities, including:
Quality, Affordable Child Care
Making it easier for working families to pay for child care empowers parents who want to go back to work.
- The Build Back Better Act provides access to safe, affordable child care for more than 470,000 Washington state children (ages 0-5) per year for families earning under 2.5 times the Washington median income (about $254,421 for a family of four). BBB also ensures these families pay no more than 7% of their income on high-quality child care.
- BBB enables Washington to expand access to free, high-quality preschool for more than 181,000 additional 3- and 4-year-olds per year in Washington state and increase the quality of preschool for children who are already enrolled.
- BBB extends for one year the expanded Child Tax Credit Larsen supported in the American Rescue Plan that cut childhood poverty in half nationwide. In October, an estimated 76,000 Second District families received an average of $438 to pay for child care, groceries and other essential items.
- BBB permanently authorizes the first-ever national paid family and medical leave guarantee for U.S. workers for up to four weeks.
More Well-Paying Clean Energy Jobs
Building back better means funding historic investments in electric vehicle manufacturing and infrastructure, incentivizing utilities to switch to cleaner power generation and establishing tax credits for green aviation fuels and electric vehicles to create well-paying union jobs.
- The Build Back Better Act is the largest single effort to combat the climate crisis in U.S. history, investing $555 billion over 10 years to cut pollution, reduce energy costs and create well-paying jobs to ensure the United States leads the clean energy economy.
- BBB establishes a nationwide 300,000+ member Climate Conservation Corps that puts Washingtonians to work conserving public lands, bolstering local resilience and addressing climate change.
- BBB extends and expands clean energy tax credits to invest more than $300 billion to support clean energy investments and deployment, improve energy efficiency and encourage vehicle electrification.
- BBB invests $20 billion nationwide in workforce development initiatives that prepare Washingtonians for in-demand jobs in clean energy, child care, public health, manufacturing and IT.
- BBB contains $10 billion for the full replacement of lead pipes in drinking systems throughout the country.
- BBB enables Washington’s 34 public community colleges to benefit from federal grants to develop and deliver innovative training initiatives and expand successful existing initiatives.
More Affordable Housing
It is clear from my conversations with residents, stakeholders and local officials there is not enough affordable housing in communities across Northwest Washington. Approximately 487,000 Washington renters spend more than 30% of their income on rent, while homeownership remains out of reach for many in the Pacific Northwest.
- The Build Back Better Act makes a $151 billion investment toward affordable housing solutions nationwide, including $24 billion for critical rental assistance.
- BBB includes provisions Larsen advocated that increase the availability of high-quality housing through the construction and rehabilitation of more than 1 million affordable units nationwide, creating jobs in construction and more housing for Washingtonians.
Lower Drug and Health Care Prices
Seniors have long paid too much for prescriptions. Currently, Medicare is prohibited by law from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies over the price of medications.
- The Build Back Better Act empowers the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate directly with drug companies to lower drug prices for the nearly 1.4 million Medicare beneficiaries in Washington state.
- BBB lowers insulin costs for all insured Americans and caps insulin copays at $35 per month for Medicare beneficiaries.
- BBB creates a new, out-of-pocket cap of $2,000 on what seniors pay for their drugs in Medicare Part D.
- BBB closes the Medicaid coverage gap to help millions of Americans gain health insurance, extends through 2025 the American Rescue Plan’s health insurance premium reductions for those who buy coverage on their own and helps older Americans access affordable hearing care by expanding Medicare. In Washington state, that means 108,000 uninsured people will gain coverage and 89,300 will on average save hundreds of dollars per year.
For a summary of the Build Back Better Act, click here.