November 19, 2021
PHILADELPHIA—"The Build Back Better act is a really big deal for Philadelphians, for Pennsylvanians, and for the entire nation. Quite frankly, it is a transformative bill that should serve as a very clear indicator that President Biden's agenda is strong, forward thinking, and driven by a deep commitment to bettering the lives of millions of people.
"It is hard to overstate the impact this bill will have on Pennsylvanians. In many ways, it is a culmination of years of advocacy efforts. We have, year after year, fought tirelessly for the programs and services that BBB delivers. And yet, we should also see this as a new beginning-- an opportunity and obligation to do better, to do more, and to press forward.
"I thank the members of the Philadelphia delegation who voted in favor of the bill. Despite Kevin McCarthy's most unhinged efforts to stymie free Pre-K and the entire bill, the will of the people prevailed today. I urge the Senate to immediately consider BBB and swiftly move it to the President's desk. The time is now.
"The investments that the BBB provides in Pennsylvania will have real, tangible impacts on communities across the Commonwealth. In Pennsylvania alone, BBB will provide for:
- Childcare for more than 700,000 youngsters, with nine out of ten PA families with children 0-5 eligible
- Expansion of free pre-k to include nearly 200,000 additional Pennsylvania 3 and 4 year olds
- Expanding access to free meals to include more than 250,000 additional Pennsylvania students; Summer meal access will reach nearly 950,000 Pennsylvania students
- A massive investment in ending child poverty, extending the historic Child Tax Credit (CTC), making this effective and transformative program permanent
- Laying the groundwork for tackling climate change, by reducing greenhouse emissions by 50% or more, all while creating union jobs
- Increasing Pell grant allowances, impacting more than 160,000 Pennsylvanians
- Increasing funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs)
- Expanding Medicaid coverage to an additional 122,000 Pennsylvanians
"In Pennsylvania, the Republican legislature has hindered progress and refused to put forth the sweeping investments we know our communities need and deserve. Given this malfeasance at a state level, to have this level of federal investment is even more significant.
"But let us also be very clear that this federal bill is not a panacea. It is incumbent upon the Biden administration and Congress to work to address what the bill does not include. Specifically, the bill neglects to incorporate one of the top issues for this union: investment in school infrastructure. The fight does not stop here. I want to particularly highlight the work of Congressman Brendan Boyle, a founding member of the PFT's Fund Our Facilities Coalition. Congressman Boyle has helped lead the fight for federal facilities funding, and we will continue to work in partnership with him to secure the passage of a Green New Deal for public schools.
"Today, we can collectively come together with a clear eyed commitment to our continued fight for a better, more equitable tomorrow."