In the face of a massive corporate lobbying blitz and continuing opposition from Republican and right-wing Democratic U.S. lawmakers to President Joe Biden\u0026#039;s Build Back Better plan, 93 advocacy groups on Thursday sent a letter to Congress urging members to \u0022stand up to this pressure\u0022 and pass the ambitious $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package.\r\n\r\n\u0022One of the biggest indications that President Biden\u0026#039;s Build Back Better plan would provide transformative change to working families is that corporations are spending millions to try to defeat it.\u0022\r\n—Heidi Shierholz, EPI\r\n\r\nThe letter, led by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), notes that \u0022lobby groups representing the wealthy and big corporations—including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, ExxonMobil, and Pfizer—are spending tens of millions of dollars to attack the most transformative and equitable budget proposal in a generation.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe letter\u0026#039;s signatories urge Congress to pass the legislative package—now undergoing bicameral negotiations—by the end of September, calling its policies and investments a \u0022down payment on the needs of our communities\u0022 that \u0022begins to meet the full scale of our country\u0026#039;s climate, poverty, and inequality emergencies\u0022 while reforming \u0022a tax system rigged in favor of the wealthy and large corporations.\u0022\r\n\r\nEnumerating the bill\u0026#039;s robust provisions to combat the climate crisis, alleviate poverty, expand healthcare and education, and improve the nation\u0026#039;s infrastructure, the letter argues that \u0022such investments would be a major boost to all working families, but especially to the tens of millions of poor and low-income people—disproportionately people of color—who have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic and recession and have not yet recovered.\u0022\r\n\r\nAddressing members of Congress who balk at the bill\u0026#039;s high price tag, the signers assert that \u0022Congress can easily raise more than $3.5 trillion in revenue from corporations and the wealthy who have seen their profits and net worth skyrocket for decades.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022The wealth of the country\u0026#039;s 708 billionaires alone rose by $1.8 trillion, or 62%, during the pandemic,\u0022 they write, \u0022enough to pay for half of the 10-year cost of the $3.5 trillion package.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe letter continues:\r\n\r\n\r\nA robust Build Back Better plan is supported by three out of four voters. The passage of this plan would be an important move toward addressing the interlocking crises of poverty, inequality, climate change, and racism. Ultimately, our nation needs a Third Reconstruction [pdf] to provide living wages, strengthen our democracy, curb violence and militarism in our communities, and prioritize the millions of poor and low-income people in the country and their needs.\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022To advance toward that goal, Congress must step up and do the right thing and live up to its constitutional and moral commitments to establish justice and the general welfare,\u0022 the signers conclude. \u0022Now is not the time to let deep-pocketed corporate lobbyists stand in the way of vital public investments in an economy that works for all of us.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022It is outrageous that hundreds of giant U.S. corporations are trying to slash taxes on themselves to undermine the most important piece of legislation for children, working people, and climate in our lifetimes.\u0022\r\n—John Cavanagh, IPS\r\n\r\nEPI president Heidi Shierholz said in a statement that \u0022one of the biggest indications that President Biden\u0026#039;s Build Back Better plan would provide transformative change to working families is that corporations are spending millions to try to defeat it. Congress must stand up to the pressure and pass these vital investments in child care, home healthcare, climate, and more.\u0022\r\n\r\nIPS senior adviser John Cavanagh added that \u0022after a year of record billionaire wealth and corporate profits, it is outrageous that hundreds of giant U.S. corporations are trying to slash taxes on themselves to undermine the most important piece of legislation for children, working people, and climate in our lifetimes.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe letter\u0026#039;s publication comes as House Democrats rush to complete drafts and markups on the bill ahead of the September 15 Budget Committee deadline set by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said Wednesday that lawmakers and their staffs are \u0022working feverishly and diligently,\u0022 and \u0022will be ready to fulfill the president\u0026#039;s vision.\u0022\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that Democrats in the upper chamber are \u0022moving full speed ahead\u0022 with the reconciliation package, despite reporting that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)—who wields outsized power given the evenly split Senate—is only willing to support up to $1.5 trillion in spending.