The Past Week in D.C.
Build Back Better Act Updates:
- After a long summer of deliberations, today marks the end of the committee markup process in the House of Representatives. While there are likely to be a lot of changes in the Senate, this is our first look at the actual legislation — check out this legislative tracker with links to all of the different bills that are being assembled.
- The House Ways and Means Committee released the much anticipated tax plan that lays out how the $3.5 trillion bill will be fully paid for, mostly by raising taxes on the wealthy and large corporations and savings accrued from items like drug pricing reform.
- With the bill fully paid for, progressives have signaled there is no reason to compromise on the $3.5 trillion price tag, citing they already compromised from Sen. Sanders’ $6 trillion plan.There will be lots of political jockeying ahead, but in general Democrats appear to be in a position to deliver on policies that will save lives and create a better future for all. It’s possible we could see a vote in the House on the Build Back Better Act as soon as next week.
Throughout the past week, members of our Michigan delegation have voiced their opinion as to why Michigan needs the Build Back Better Act. Here are a couple of examples:
- Rep. Dingell has been posting about the important $30 billion in funding to address lead in drinking water in the Build Back Better Act as well as the need to take action to reduce emissions from vehicles (and how she’s a “car girl”).
- Senator Stabenow delivered remarks to the press on the urgent need to address the climate crisis.
- Rep. Kildee has been leading the charge (no pun intended) with Senator Stabenow and others to expand the electric vehicle tax credit in the Build Back Better Act.
- Rep. Tlaib continues to call for climate action and in the last week drew attention to the risks posed by the Enbridge pipelines known as Line 3 (Minnesota) and Line 5 here in Michigan.
- Michigan LCV’s Hudson Villaneuve joined a climate-labor panel on Monday evening with Rep. Andy Levin and For Our Future, “Build Back Greener” with a focus on the PRO Act.
Yesterday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel signed a letter with 19 other Attorneys General calling on Congress to fund efforts and programs to address the climate crisis and environmental injustice.
This week, President Biden is visiting western states ravaged by extreme heat and wildfires this summer in an attempt to gain support for climate measures outlined in the reconciliation package. Speaking in Colorado yesterday, the President highlighted the urgency of passing climate measures now, stating that “we don’t have much more than 10 year.”
Analysis Stories: What does it mean to Build Back Better for Michigan?
For this week’s “Michigan LCV Analysis” section, we are taking a step back from the news and instead sharing the story of a Michigan resident who has been impacted by the climate crisis, as so many have this past year.
Michigan LCV has been working with Michiganders from across the state to share their stories about why we need to take action to invest in infrastructure, clean drinking water, and the battle against climate change. These powerful stories are a testament to why we need to “Build Back Better For Us” in order to address threats facing our communities and set a course towards a clean energy future.
Take the story of Jasmin Maciel-Gutierrez, who experienced the effects of climate change firsthand when severe weather and torrential rain led to catastrophic flooding in her Southwest Detroit community in June of 2021. Overnight, the family’s home and four vehicles were fully submerged in flood waters, causing irreversible damage and large-scale loss of property and belongings.
As the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first in her family to graduate college, Jasmin wants to ensure that communities like hers in Southwest Detroit have a voice that is heard by elected officials when it comes to addressing the climate crisis, investing in our nation’s infrastructure, and protecting our most vulnerable populations from the effects of climate change.
Elected officials need to take action on climate change and infrastructure because our vulnerable communities are being impacted the most… We need to have funding go to these vulnerable communities that have little to no resources. We need to hold our elected officials responsible.”
Unfortunately, the story of Jasmin and her family has become far too common as the accelerating effects of the climate crisis continue to impact communities across Michigan. Now, as Congress is set to vote on the Build Back Better Act budget reconciliation bill as soon as next week, it is absolutely imperative that the legislation includes key measures that will help us address climate change and protect our communities. Some opponents say we can’t afford this transformational investment, but we can’t afford not to act. As Jasmin says:
Numbers are just numbers, but when you talk about humans, it’s human lives that are at stake here.”
Ahead of the pending vote, contact your elected officials and lawmakers in Washington and tell them that the time for action to address the climate crisis is now. You can make your voice heard and send a message in support of key climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act and thank your representatives for their work to tackle climate change using our easy, one-step action tool here.
A Deeper Dive
The organization Data for Progress released poll results today showing that voters in 12 key states, including Michigan, strongly support the full Build Back Better agenda by huge percentage margins. Rep. Brenda Lawrence tweeted about the Michigan results showing that 70 percent of likely Michigan voters support the Build Back Better plan and only 24 percent were opposed — a whopping +46 point margin in favor of this investment plan. Check out the Michigan results here. Data For Progress also conducted a nationwide survey in August finding that likely voters support lawmakers fully funding the removal of all lead pipes in America beyond what is included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill…by a +52 point margin (72 percent support, 20 percent oppose).
Also, attached is a recap document of work done by Michigan LCV (in partnership with many others) during the August recess to give you a sense of our impact.