Progressive groups push Senate for action on spending, climate package

The U.S. Capitol is seen from the East Front Plaza on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
Greg Nash

A coalition of left-leaning businesses and progressive leaders are pushing for the Senate to take action on the Democrats’ spending and climate package after the initiative languished in the upper chamber last month.

More than 250 organizations and individuals are urging the Senate to pass the Democrats’ spending package — known as the Build Back Better Act — with provisions that address child care and pre-K, paid family and medical leave, home- and community-based services and child tax credits.

“We, 250+ advocacy organizations and leaders representing millions of your constituents across America, urge you to act with haste to pass Build Back Better. Now is the time to make these investments in both working families and our workforce,” the group wrote in a letter to U.S. senators.

The coalition also placed an advertisement in The New York Times that featured the letter, according to Politico. The AFL-CIO, Me Too International, Women’s March and National Domestic Workers Alliance were among the groups behind the effort.

The letter comes after Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, urged the Senate last week to pass the Build Back Better package by March 1, when President Biden is set to deliver his first State of the Union address.

She said passing the bill by that date will allow Biden to “use the power of the State of the Union platform to share with the nation the relief that people will soon receive.”

Jayapal said the package “has only become more urgent” since negotiations stalled, pointing to wildfires, increases in prescription drug costs and parents who do not have child care support.

“This desperately needed relief cannot be delayed any longer,” she added.

Pelosi, however, has since sidestepped that timeline, saying that she does not “subscribe to any particular date” to pass the package.

Negotiations for the party’s social spending and climate package hit a brick wall last month when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he could not support the legislation despite months of negotiations between the White House and Capitol Hill.

The party hit pause on the push and turned its attention to voting rights reform, which also failed amid opposition from Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). Progressives are now pushing for Build Back Better negotiations to return to the forefront.

Biden earlier this month said he believes the party will be able to get “big chunks” of the spending package signed into law. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) struck a similar note last week, predicting that parts of the package will pass before the midterm elections in November.

“I’m of the belief that Build Back Better is going to pass. It won’t pass as we sent it to the Senate, obviously. It will be changed, but that’s the legislative process,” he said.

Tags Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Pramila Jayapal Steny Hoyer
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