Build Back Better demonstration

People participate in a rally for the Build Back Better Act on January 31, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Huge Progressive Coalition Urges Senate to Pass Build Back Better

"America's workers, businesses, and families need this law."

A diverse coalition of more than 250 progressive advocacy organizations, labor unions, and small business groups on Monday implored the U.S. Senate to immediately pass the Build Back Better Act, warning that millions of people across the nation are "at a breaking point" as the coronavirus pandemic rages on and economic tumult persists.

"Moms, dads, caregivers, and working people of America need Build Back Better more than ever."

"America's workers, businesses, and families need this law," the coalition wrote in a letter spearheaded by the advocacy group MomsRising. "In the ongoing pandemic and with all the economic risks associated with it, it's clear Build Back Better is needed more than ever, not only to support working families and to strengthen jobs and our economy, but also to enable growth and resilience."

The letter ran as a full-page ad in the Washington, D.C. edition of the New York Times on Monday as advocates rallied in support of the legislation in the nation's capital.

"The Senate now has a historic opportunity to prioritize building a durable, equitable, family-focused care infrastructure that cuts costs for families, helps address inflation, boosts businesses, promotes public health, and creates and improves jobs, including by raising wages and providing better opportunities for workers to join unions," the groups wrote, pointing to the Build Back Better Act's proposed investments in child care, paid family and medical leave, home-based care for seniors and people with disabilities, and the boosted child tax credit (CTC).

The expanded CTC lapsed at the end of last month after corporate-backed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced in a Fox News interview last month that he would oppose the Build Back Better Act in its current form, imperiling a centerpiece of President Joe Biden's policy agenda.

Officially launched in July, the boosted CTC lifted millions of children out of poverty by providing families with monthly payments that they widely used to buy food, medication, and other basic necessities. Manchin reportedly insisted that the CTC be removed entirely from the Build Back Better Act, outraging progressives and struggling parents.

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Now, Democratic lawmakers and the White House are working to chart a path forward for the legislation, which--like other party priorities--is at serious risk of dying in the Senate.

As Vanity Fair reported Monday, "Democrats are looking to regroup this week and begin a new push to salvage at least part of Joe Biden's domestic agenda, with both progressives and moderates in the House calling on their Senate colleagues to pass the Build Back Better Act by the end of February--even if in some slimmed-down form."

It's not yet clear what an even more watered-down Build Back Better package would look like, and Manchin--who reportedly removed his own counteroffer from the table earlier this month--has not been transparent about his demands.

According toCNBC, Manchin's 2024 reelection campaign raised close to $300,000 from corporate political action committees and executives in the days after he announced he would oppose his party's legislation.

On Monday, more than 20 House Democrats running for reelection in competitive districts in the fast-approaching midterms sent a letter urging Biden to move forward with the roughly $550 billion in climate investments included in the House-passed version of the Build Back Better Act.

But Manchin--a longtime ally of the fossil fuel industry--would likely be an obstacle to passing standalone climate legislation. The West Virginia Democrat has said negotiations over the Build Back Better Act should start "from scratch."

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), for her part, has demanded that the Senate pass Build Back Better legislation no later than March 1, the date of Biden's first State of the Union address.

"This is both achievable and necessary," said Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. "There is agreement among Senate Democrats on significant parts of this bill: climate action, the care economy, taking on Big Pharma's price gouging, and lowering healthcare costs. There is agreement on the need to reduce rising costs facing ordinary Americans--and that is exactly what Build Back Better does."

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director and CEO of MomsRising, echoed that message in a statement Monday, stressing that "the situation is urgent."

"Moms, dads, caregivers, and working people of America need Build Back Better more than ever," said Rowe-Finkbeiner. "The fact that over 250 organizations came together so quickly to sign onto this open letter to the Senate is just one of many indicators of the extraordinarily broad, deep support for the Build Back Better Act, and how urgently every senator's constituents need it to become law."

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