Houlahan Votes to Pass the Build Back Better Act

Representative Houlahan Issues Statement On Killing Of Qasem SoleimaniImage via Representative Chrissy Houlahan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) voted to pass the Build Back Better Act, moving this overwhelmingly popular bill one step closer to being signed into law. On the heels of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, this complimentary bill will further help the people of Pennsylvania by cutting taxes and putting working families first.

“At a time when so many Pennsylvanians are feeling the economic pressures of global inflation and rising prices, this bill helps to lower the costs of a household’s biggest expenditures: health care, housing, child care and more,” said Houlahan. “The Build Back Better Act is fiscally disciplined while also addressing the most pressing issues of our time.”

“For too long, too many hardworking families in Chester and Berks counties have been struggling to stay afloat – and the pandemic further exposed the systemic issues that are shrinking the middle class. But today, we took action to make our economy work for everyone.”

“Any one of the provisions in this bill would be a remarkable achievement, and today we advanced dozens: lowering the cost of prescription drugs, capping insulin prices at $35 a month, guaranteeing universal preschool, expanding access to homeownership for first-generation home buyers, cutting child care expenses in half for most families, combating climate change with good-paying union jobs, extending the already proven Child Tax Credit and more. Without a doubt, this bill is the largest investment in the middle class in a generation. I was proud to support it and I look forward to getting out into my community and continuing to share all the ways it will benefit Pennsylvania families.”

As seventeen Nobel Prize-winning economists recently wrote in support of this legislation: “Because this agenda invests in long-term economic capacity and will enhance the ability of more Americans to participate productively in the economy, it will ease longer-term inflationary pressures.” In fact, according to the estimates of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the U.S. Treasury, Build Back Better even reduces the deficit over the first ten years.

“Traveling around our community, I hear from businesses that are growing and eager to hire,” Houlahan continued. “This bill will reinvigorate our workforce by dismantling the societal barriers keeping working families from returning to work. Without these investments, our economy would continue to feel the long tale effects of the pandemic. Today, we voted to get America back to work.”

Notably, the House-passed bill also includes a universal, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program following months of Houlahan’s bipartisan, bicameral advocacy

“Since coming to Congress, I’ve watched this body, including the Senate, vote in favor of expanding paid leave for our federal workers and our service members,” said Houlahan. “I would know – I helped lead those efforts. It’s why I find it hard to believe that some of my colleagues are drawing a line in the sand when it comes to expanding this basic decency to all Americans. I am extremely proud of the tireless work to secure 4 weeks of universal paid family and medical leave in the Build Back Better Act, but our fight is not over. I will not rest until this program is signed into law.”

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As a member of the House Small Business Committee, Houlahan also successfully secured passage of her legislation to invest billions in underserved markets and manufacturers in the bill.

The Build Back Better Act will deliver for Pennsylvania:

HEALTH CARE 

  • Lower Prescription Drug Prices: For the first time in history, the Build Back Better Act will empower the government to negotiate lower drug prices under Medicare to lower drug prices for seniors.  It also will establish a new, $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket spending for what seniors pay for their drugs in Medicare Part D and require drug companies to pay rebates to all Americans, including private insurance, if drug prices increase faster than inflation.    
  • Make Insulin Affordable for All: The Build Back Better Act will lower insulin prices to ensure no American pays more than $35 per month.    
  • Lower Health Insurance Premiums: The Build Back Better Act will extend premium subsidies in the ACA Marketplace originally included in the American Rescue Plan.  These provisions decreased premiums by an average of $800 each year.  
  • Expand Access to Medicaid: The Build Back Better Act will close the Medicaid coverage gap to help millions of Americans gain health insurance, extend through 2025 the American Rescue Plan’s health insurance premium reductions for those who buy coverage on their own. In Pennsylvania, that means 122,000 uninsured people will gain coverage and 125,800 will on average save hundreds of dollars per year.   
  • Provide Hearing Coverage for Seniors: The Build Back Better Act will expand Medicare to include coverage for hearing services and hearing aids.  

HOUSING

  • Rental Assistance: The Build Back Better Act will provide $24 billion to fund Housing Choice Vouchers, which helps low-income families, the elderly and the disabled to afford housing in the private sector.  The funding represents the largest expansion for the Housing Choice Voucher Program since its creation in 1974 and will help over 260,000 families afford rent over the next eight years.  
  • Affordable Housing Investments: The Build Back Better Act will provide $25 billion to fund the construction, purchase, and rehabilitation of affordable homes for low-income families.  It also includes $750 million for the Housing Investment Fund, which will be used by Community Development Financial Institutions to fund the development of 13,000 rental and homeownership residences.  
  • Expand Access to Homeownership: The Build Back Better Act will provide $10 billion for a first time, first-generation homebuyer down payment, closing cost, and interest rate buydown assistance that will help an estimated 273,000 families become homeowners.  
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CARE ECONOMY

  • Cut Child Care Spending in Half for Most American Families: Child care is a major strain for families in Pennsylvania, where the average annual cost of a child care center for a toddler is $11,402. The Build Back Better Act will cap child care costs at 7% of a family’s income for families earning up to 250% of PA’s median income, expanding access for 737,791 young children (ages 0-5) per year in Pennsylvania.   
  • Universal Preschool, Expanding Free Schooling in America for First Time in 100 years: The Build Back Better Act will expand access to free, high-quality preschool to more than 204,716 additional 3- and 4-year-olds in Pennsylvania per year and increase the quality of preschool for children who are already enrolled.   

SMALL BUSINESS

  • Funds for Community Advantage Loan Program: The Build Back Better Act will provide $275.9 million over 10 years to enhance, improve, and expand the Community Advantage program. It will also give SBA authority to partner with mission-oriented, nonprofit lenders to deliver capital through the 7(a) Loan.   
  • Expand Growth Accelerator Competition: The Build Back Better Act will provide a total of $200 million over 10 years to provide cash grants of not less than $100,000 to growth accelerators to expand their capabilities to assist small businesses focused on technology, research, and development.  

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Largest Effort to Combat Climate Change in American History: The Build Back Better Act will set the United States on course to meet its climate targets — a 50-52% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030 — in a way that creates good-paying union jobs, grows domestic industries, and advances environmental justice. It represents the largest ever single investment in our clean energy economy — across buildings, transportation, industry, electricity, agriculture, and climate-smart practices in our lands and waters.   
  • Boost Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund: The Build Back Better Act will invest $29 billion in nonprofit, state, and local climate finance institutions that support the rapid deployment of low- and zero-emission technologies, including zero emission vehicle supply equipment. These financing entities will build on the successful track record of similar programs across the United States, leveraging public and private investment to help communities reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air pollution.  
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TAX BREAKS & EQUITY

  • Lower taxes for Over 35 million American Families and Workers: The Build Back Better Act will extend Child Tax Credit (CTC) increases of $300/month per child under 6 or $250/month per child ages 6 to 17. This will continue the largest one-year reduction in child poverty in history. It also includes permanent refundability for the Child Tax Credit, meaning that the neediest families will continue to receive the full Child Tax Credit over the long-run. It will also provide a tax cut of up to $1,500 in tax cuts for 663,000 low-wage workers in Pennsylvania by extending the American Rescue Plan’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) expansion.  
  • Fairer Tax Code: The Build Back Better Act makes sure no one making less than $400,000 a year pays one cent more in additional taxes.  It also will also make our tax system more equitable by requiring multi-millionaire and billionaires – the wealthiest 0.02 percent of Americans – to pay their fair share.    

OTHER NOTABLE PROVISIONS

  • Improve Manufacturing Supply Chains: The Build Back Better Act will provide the Department of Commerce $5 billion to monitor and identify critical manufacturing supply chain vulnerabilities that imperil our national security and economic vitality and support domestic companies and other domestic entities in closing those vulnerabilities.  
  • Make education beyond high school more affordable and accessible: The average cost of a 2-year degree in Pennsylvania is $5,625 per year, and $15,312 per year for a 4-year degree, straining many student budgets. To help unlock the opportunities of an education beyond high school, the Build Back Better Act will increase maximum Pell Grant awards by $550 for students at public and private non-profit institutions, supporting the 160,211 students in Pennsylvania who rely on Pell Grants. 
  • Strengthen and improve the resiliency of our infrastructure: The Build Back Better Act builds upon the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, including nearly $40 billion in additional critical transportation & infrastructure investments to reduce carbon pollution in the transportation sector, promote affordable housing and equitable access to transportation, and measures to prepare our community for future emergency disasters, such as sewer overflow and stormwater reuse projects and other resiliency improvements. 

Read the full White House factsheet on Pennsylvania-specific investments here.

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