President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda may be the largest and most substantive social legislation since the New Deal and Great Society.
Passing it will make transformative investments in jobs, the care economy (including child care and pre-K, the child tax credit, home care, and more), combating climate change, delivering relief for millions of immigrants, and much more. That’s why Daily Kos has put all of our resources to help make it pass.
Since March, Daily Kos has generated 1.81 million constituent letters to House and Senate Democrats, over half a million petition signatures, and more than 35,000 constituent phone calls — all in support of a big, bold, and green measure that can reshape our country.
Throughout it all, we have focused on the issues and how this legislation will benefit millions of people. And it’s why we need you to keep contacting your members of Congress.
After it passes, the Build Back Better Act will aggressively fight climate change, cut child poverty, expand health care access, offer education opportunities, build affordable housing, provide for our child and elder care workers and help immigrants who work hard every day.
In a perfect world, Congress would pass each of these priorities in about 10 different bills that we could separately celebrate each passage. But because the Senate filibuster requires an impossible hurdle of 60 votes on anything, we had to stuff as much of the policy agenda into one budget reconciliation bill that can bypass Republican obstruction and become law.
Even before we knew any details of what would be included in the package (and before it was split into a physical infrastructure bill and human infrastructure legislation), we knew the most crucial thing was to keep it big and all-encompassing. Our first petition we did back in March was to generate constituent letters to members of Congress—urging them to keep the package BIG, BOLD, AND GREEN.
Once we started to know what would be in the Build Back Better Act, the media inevitably began to focus on the dollar amount. That was a trap we did not want to fall into.
Whether it’s $6 trillion in essential funding that Bernie Sanders and other progressives originally urged, or a $3.5 trillion framework that President Biden and 48 Senate Democrats signed off on, or the newest $1.85 trillion framework, we refused to let the Build Back Better Act be defined by a dollar amount: what the bill accomplishes is what matters.
That’s why we set up four different Letter Campaigns that focused on the four big issue areas that would make up the Build Back Better Act: climate, care, health, and citizenship. And we sent out regular emails that focused on each of these separate issues, telling real stories about real people and why Congress must fight hard to keep these priorities in the bill.
We wrote about our grandparents needing expanded Medicare coverage or elder care. We talked about immigrant families living under fear of deportation while they did so much of the essential work that helped us survive the pandemic. We talked about the terrifying heat waves and hurricanes that happened this summer, and how climate change requires major action.
When the media focused on the shifting dollar amounts in Build Back Better, that was not a helpful metric to know if it’s an acceptable compromise—or an outrageous concession. What mattered most was what would be in the bill on a substantive policy level that helps people.
Granted, we can’t ignore the price tag entirely due to Senate rules. But the Build Back Better Act can be fully paid for if the rich and corporations who greatly benefited from the Reagan, Bush, and Trump tax cuts (and then made out like bandits during the pandemic) paid their fair share. That’s why we also had a Letter Campaign urging them to tax the rich.
And when it became clear that allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices (which can save the government $500 billion) was in jeopardy, we mobilized to demand that, too.
All the while, conservative Democrats like Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema gave us headaches. We mobilized our West Virginia and Arizona readers to put pressure on them, balancing palatable frustration with the fact that we need their votes to pass this.
But we didn’t hold back when it came to the multimillion-dollar corporate lobbying blitz. A lot of money is at stake in the Build Back Better Act, and wealthy interests are hell-bent on defeating it. Whether it’s ExxonMobil trying to kill the climate provisions, Big Pharma pushing back on prescription drug access, or just the rich and powerful who liked their Trump tax cuts.
Our message to all Democrats was: You represent us, not the big business lobbyists. And if you remove key portions of the Build Back Better Act, you are doing their bidding.
Congress may vote any day now on both the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act. We will fight hard to the bitter end to keep it as big, bold, and green as possible to deliver for the American people. And whatever we don’t get into the bill, we will fight to elect more Democrats in 2022—and repeal the filibuster in the Senate.
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