Points to Know: Build Back Better Act

As the House Budget Committee marks up the Build Back Better Act, we wanted to be sure you had a frame of reference as to why these priorities are so urgent to help create jobs, cut middle class taxes, and give communities and families the tools they need to Make It In America.

Ways and Means
  • Looking at the supplemental poverty measure (SPM), this expansion of the Child Tax Credit is projected to reduce child poverty from nearly 14 percent to 7 and a half percent—a 45 percent reduction—according to researchers at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy. [Brookings, 3/11/21]
    • The Build Back Better Act extends the expanded Child Tax Credit, as well as the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit and the tax credit to help pay for child and dependent care.
  • Last year, 44% of adults reported they had skipped at least one “medically necessary” prescription drug due to cost. [CNBC, 2/26/20]
    • The Build Back Better Act will lower prescription costs for Americans by allowing the HHS Secretary to negotiate for lower drug prices.
  • Since March [of 2021], 28% of women with kids under 18 in the household have temporarily or permanently left the workforce to become a primary caregiver to children. [TIME, 8/5/21]
    • The Build Back Better Act will help the United States create a long overdue, nationwide paid family leave policy.
  • 71% of voters, including a majority of Republicans, favor higher taxes on people who earn more than $1 million a year from capital gains. [Navigator Research, 9/9/21]
    • House Democrats’ legislation also aims ensure the wealthy pay their fair share by increasing the individual tax rate, increasing the top capital gains rate, and adding a modest surtax on only the highest-income taxpayers.
    • The Build Back Better Act also cuts taxes for our nation’s smallest businesses and brings the corporate rate to 26.5%.

Education and Labor
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, 3.5 million mothers of school-aged children left their jobs between March and April 2020. [Bloomberg, 9/24/21]
    • Pillars of the Build Back Better Act focus on lowering the cost of child care across the United States.
  • A recent McKinsey & Co. study found remote schooling set White students back by one to three months in math, and students of color lost three to five months. [Washington Post, 12/6/2020]
    • The Build Back Better Act secures universal pre-K for three- and four-year-olds to help improve children’s outcomes.
  • The Economic Policy Institute found more public education jobs were lost during April 2020 than the Great Recession. [EPI, 6/3/2020]
    • The Build Back Better Act aims to strengthen our public schools by helping school districts repair, modernize, or rebuild crumbling and outdated school buildings.
  • Even prior to the pandemic, less than half of the nation’s community colleges were affordable for students who qualify for Pell grants. [MarketWatch, 6/4/2019]
    • Legislation marked up by the Committee on Education and Labor also seeks to lower the cost of higher education by funding two years of tuition-free community college and increasing the value of Pell Grants.
  • Just one in 300 American workers have participated in on-the-job training programs. [PBS, 7/1/2021]
    • This bill also expands job training programs to help workers secure good-paying jobs.

Energy and Commerce
  • A third of Americans worry about affording health care. [NBC News/Commonwealth Fund, 2/27/2020]
    • The Build Back Better Act will improve access to health care for millions by strengthening the Affordable Care Act, closing the Medicaid coverage gap, expanding Medicare to cover hearing, vision, and dental for seniors, and making investments in home and community-based care.
  • Communities across the country are spending millions to respond to the impacts of worsening climate change. [New York Times, 9/2/2021]
    • This legislation also makes historic investments to fight the climate crisis and create millions of new, good-paying clean energy and manufacturing jobs right here at home, including the Clean Electricity Performance Program to help us meet our clean energy goals.
    • The bill also makes critical investments in electric vehicle infrastructure and home energy efficiency rebates, as well as funding to fully replace lead service pipes contaminating our drinking water.

Financial Services
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development found that nearly 600,000 Americans are experiencing homelessness. [Reuters, 9/14/2021]
    • House Democrats’ legislation to Build Back Better makes historic investments in housing resources, such as affordable housing, downpayment assistance, and nationwide efforts to end homelessness.
    • These programs also advance Democrats’ priorities of sustainable and resilient housing and improving fair housing enforcement.

  • In 2020, gun violence killed nearly 20,000 Americans, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, more than any other year in at least two decades. [Washington Post, 3/24/2021]
  • The Build Back Better Act includes critical funding for community violence intervention programs at the Department of Justice for support training, technical assistance, research, evaluation, and data collection on the strategies that are most effective at reducing community violence and ensuring public safety.

  • In December 2020, the rural employment rate was still significantly below the previous year. [Agriculture and Applied Economics Association, 3/21]
    • The Build Back Better Act will invest in rural job-promoting initiatives to ensure those living in rural America, on tribal lands, and our insular areas have access to clean water and reliable and efficient renewable energy. 
  • Warming temperatures are creating conditions that favor wildfires, including the burning of more than 4.7 million acres in the first nine months of 2020 alone. [CFR, 9/16/20]
    • This legislative package includes support for forestry programs to help combat forest fires and contribute to healthy, resilient forests.

Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Transportation accounted for the largest portion (29%) of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. [EPA, 9/21]
    • The Build Back Better Act provides investments to reduce carbon pollution in the surface transportation sector—addressing the largest source of transportation greenhouse gas emissions.
    • The bill also aims to improve neighborhood equity, safety, and affordable transportation access, including reconnecting communities divided by existing infrastructure barriers.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 Americans experienced a weather disaster this summer. [Washington Post, 9/4/2021]
    • The Build Back Better Act boosts funding for Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) hazard mitigation revolving loan fund program.
    • The legislation also addresses sewer overflow and stormwater reuse projects, as well as a greater federal cost share for projects that serve financially distressed communities.
Science, Space, and Technology
  • More than half of American adults surveyed said China is a “major threat” to the United States’ leadership in space research. [Morning Consult, 2/25/2021]
    • The Build Back Better Act includes historic investments in NASA centers to modernize facilities and address climate change and improve cybersecurity and information technology.
    • The bill also provides funding for the National Science Foundation to address equipment and infrastructure, and provide for more research grants, scholarships and fellowships.

Natural Resources
  • Based on the Palmer Drought Index, severe to extreme drought affected about 36% of the contiguous United States as of the end of June 2021, an increase of about 8% from last month. [NOAA, 6/2021]
    • House Democrats’ legislation to Build Back Better includes vital investments in programs that address drought and wildfires, and programs to improve water storage nationwide.
    • This legislation also invests in climate resilience programs through NOAA to ensure structures are prepared to respond to climate change.
Small Business
  • Nearly 100,000 establishments that temporarily shut down due to the pandemic are now out of business. [Fortune, 9/28/20]
    • The Build Back Better Act invests in direct lending of less than $150,000 and targeted loans of $1 million to government contractors and small manufacturers. 
    • This legislation also provides funding for the SBIC program to ensure small entities with high growth potential have the long-term capital they need to scale up, and creates a pathway for investing more capital in small manufacturers and firms in critical industries to meet our nation’s most pressing needs. 
    • House Democrats’ legislation aims to help small businesses build back better by improving federal contracting opportunities and fund a national network of incubators and accelerators.

Oversight and Reform
  • U.S. Postal Service trucks currently get 10 miles to the gallon. [Washington Post, 5/24/21]
    • The Build Back Better Act includes funding to electrify the United States Postal Service vehicle fleets.
  • Climate change has disproportionately impacted lower income communities and communities of color. [Enterprise Community, 9/24/21]
    • The Build Back Better Act includes investments to ensure at least 40% of the benefits of climate and infrastructure initiatives go to overburdened and underserved communities.

Veterans’ Affairs
  • The VA’s buildings are, on average, 60 years old, and 69% of the Department’s main hospitals are at least 50 years old. [Federal News Network, 3/9/21]
    • The Build Back Better Act invests in the physical infrastructure of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, including workforce and building improvements to streamline service and care for our nation’s veterans.