by Kelvin Lassiter
As the country emerges from the shutdowns surrounding the pandemic, Americans have become inpatient. Promises made regarding voting rights, paid time off, and tax hikes on the wealthy to pay for much needed infrastructure have not come to pass.
Now, after several months of negotiations, the president’s original $3.5 trillion-dollar spending measure for the infrastructure bill and the social spending package has now been reduced in price tag to $1.75 trillion dollars (read the text of the Build Back Better bill). Some of the highlights of the bill include:
- 150 billion in housing investments
- Extension of the Child Tax Credit for one year
- 100 billion to reduce immigration backlogs
- Expansion of health care coverage that will save nine million Americans $600 a year on their premiums
Things left out of the final framework:
- Paid family leave
- Clean Electricity Performance Program
- Ability for the government to negotiate with drug companies for Medicare also won’t be allowed.
While the American people appreciate the efforts for the things that will remain in the bill, it is severely underfunded, and will affect our housing insecure population for generations. The cities of New York and Los Angeles combined need at least 150 billion alone to being their public housing infrastructure up to code. Also, eliminating the ability for the government to negotiate drug prices is damaging. Who wants to make the choice to pay for medicine, or pay to survive without medicine?
In his latest remarks, President Biden reminded the country that this bill is historic, and an investment in the American people. Not everybody got everything they wanted including me, but that’s what compromise, and democracy is. While his remarks are true, the American people counted on lower drug prices, lower housing costs, clean air, and paid family leave to survive. Are the American people getting what they voted for? It remains to be seen, stay tuned.