Time for Senate vote on Build Back Better
Income and wealth inequality today is higher than at any time in the last 100 years
The corporate media doesn't talk about it. The Republican Party doesn't talk about it. Most of the Democratic Party doesn't talk about it.
But what we are seeing today is a massive attack by the corporate elite against the needs of working families and the middle class. During this horrific pandemic, which has taken over 800,000 American lives, corporate profits are soaring, and the billionaire class has become much wealthier. In fact, income and wealth inequality today is higher than at any time in the last 100 years.
Meanwhile, while the rich become much richer, real inflation-accounted for wages for workers have not increased over the last 48 years, and half of our people continue working paycheck to paycheck. In America today, tens of millions of working families are unable to afford the health care they need, prescription drugs, housing, child care, home health care or the ability to send their kids to college.
HOW DEMOCRATS CAN ACTUALLY PASS BUILD BACK BETTER IN 2022
Because of sustained corporate attacks against defined benefit pension plans, half of older Americans have no savings and are fearful of a retirement in which they are totally dependent upon inadequate Social Security benefits.
What does the Build Back Better Act and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have to do with all of that? Simple. The Build Back Better Act is a bold attempt to finally address the long-neglected needs of working families and demand that the wealthiest people in this country and large profitable corporations start paying their fair share of taxes.
Sadly, in a 50-50 Senate, not one Republican is prepared to stand up to the powerful special interests who are working feverishly to defeat this bill. And, with only 50 Democrats, any one Democrat is able to torpedo this effort. Manchin is prepared to be that one.
Manchin, the Republicans and corporate America say this bill will add to our national debt and make inflation worse. Not true. Unlike the bloated military budget that Manchin recently voted for, which adds $778 billion to the deficit this year alone and costs four times more than the Build Back Better Act over a 10-year period, the White House has said this bill is fully paid for.
This bill is fully paid for by raising taxes on the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in America.
And to add insult to injury, this military budget came after we ended the longest war in recent U.S. history and was $25 billion more than what President Biden requested. I should also add that, despite Manchin’s "deep concerns" about the national debt, he voted for $53 billion in corporate welfare that would go to a handful of profitable microchip companies – completely unpaid for.
What does this Build Back Better bill do, and why is the ruling class of this country spending many hundreds of millions of dollars in lobbying, campaign contributions and advertising to defeat it? While this comprehensive bill continues to undergo debate and revisions, here are a few of the major provisions in it that I am fighting for:
This bill is fully paid for by raising taxes on the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in America. It is absurd and grossly unfair that, in a given year, some billionaires in this country do not pay a nickel in federal income taxes and that many large profitable corporations also pay nothing. Who believes that it makes sense that the effective tax rate today is higher for working families than it is for billionaires? Simply put, a nurse should not pay more in federal taxes than Amazon owner and billionaire Jeff Bezos. This bill would put an end to that.
This bill will lower the outrageous price of prescription drugs by empowering Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies. At a time when one out of four patients cannot afford to fill the prescriptions their doctors write, the American people should not have to pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs while the pharmaceutical industry makes obscene profits.
This bill will substantially improve home health care in our country and allow hundreds of thousands of senior citizens and people with disabilities to receive the care they need in their own homes instead of being forced into understaffed and inadequate nursing homes.
This bill, if I have anything to say about it, will expand Medicare to cover hearing aids, eyeglasses and dental care. In the richest country on earth, it is not a radical idea to make sure that senior citizens can chew their food properly, read the newspaper and have conversations with their grandchildren.
This bill makes pre-kindergarten free for every 3- and 4-year-old in America and makes sure that no working family in America will pay over 7% of their limited incomes on child care. Parents cannot return to work if they do not have access to decent and affordable child care.
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This bill will make an historic investment in affordable housing so that we no longer have nearly 600,000 homeless Americans, 38,000 of whom are veterans, and millions more who spend over half of their incomes on housing.
This bill begins to make the massive investments we need to combat climate change by transforming our energy systems away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy and energy efficiency. With the planet becoming warmer and warmer, with unprecedented forest fires, drought, floods and extreme weather disturbances, and when scientists tell us that we only have a few years to avoid irreparable damage to our country and planet, we must take bold action to protect the lives of future generations.
When we do all of these things, and more, we will create millions of good-paying jobs and offer a brighter future for our young people.
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At this pivotal moment in U.S. history, it’s time for the Senate to vote on a bill that will substantially improve the lives of working families, the elderly, the sick and the poor, while taking on the unbridled greed of the wealthy and the powerful.
It’s time for the American people to understand which side their senators are on. No more excuses. No more delays. It’s time for the U.S. Senate to vote.