Washington – Today House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) delivered an opening statement at a committee markup of the Build Back Better Act. Below is a copy of his remarks as prepared for delivery.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, the legislation we begin to consider today is one of the most consequential policy pursuits in my time in Congress.
I am always proud of the work we do in this committee.
But this is hardly just another bill.
This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity – an enormous and much needed investment in our future, in the American people, in our environment, and in the fundamental fairness of our society.
And to understand why this bill matters so much, you have to recognize the magnitude of the challenges that we face.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare many of the harsh realities of our economic and social structures.
But frankly, the problems we face were around long before COVID.
We have too many people who can’t get ahead – who can’t, no matter how hard they work, realize the American Dream of leaving more for their children than they had themselves.
A third of our country has no retirement savings whatsoever, and roughly two-thirds of Americans couldn’t afford a $1,000 emergency if it happened today.
We’re the only modernized economy that doesn’t provide any national paid leave – which forces workers, mostly lower-income and mostly women, to choose between their family and their job.
This bill will change that, and more.
This bill is about better health care: major new services for seniors on Medicare – hearing, dental and vision care – and dramatically lower drug prices for all Americans.
This bill is a major tax cut for working families – the Child Tax Credit – money parents have already started to receive each month, and a program estimated to cut child poverty in half.
This bill is about better education – universal pre-K for all American children, and free community college access for millions of young people.
And this bill is the most significant investment in the fight against climate change in our country’s history.
We’ve got a third of our country underwater, a third of our country on fire, and a third of our country with no water at all. We must act now.
This bill includes my GREEN Act: a major investment in clean and renewable energy – in solar, wind, geothermal, electric vehicles, and more – investment that meets President Biden’s climate change goals like creating good paying jobs and bolstering our economy.
This is an important investment. And I want to close by emphasizing that word. Investment.
This bill is an investment.
Putting aside the fact that four years ago, our Republican colleagues saw fit to tack on a $2.3 trillion to our national debt by slashing taxes on rich people, the discussion so far has ignored that this bill is an investment.
It’s an investment in our workers, our children, our communities, our planet, and our future. I am confident it will pay tremendous returns.
Thank you Mr. Chairman, and I yield back.