In case you missed it, former Virginia House Democratic Leader David. J Toscano and advocates from across the Commonwealth yesterday called on Congress to pass President Biden’s vastly popular Build Back Better agenda. Speakers discussed specific provisions in the package related to the expanded Child Tax Credit, clean energy and climate, paid family leave, home care, and child nutrition.
Toscano, who anchored the program, said, “this legislation is an ambitious and historic plan that will lower the costs of working families by making the tax code fairer and requiring corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share,” and noted that “we may never get a chance to pass such an ambitious agenda” which he said was “very critical to the future of the nation, and the future of economic viability of families.”
Toscano added, “Not only is the Build Back Better plan good policy, it’s good politics. We know from a recent poll done by Quinnipiac that it has broad popular support around the country.”
Chris Leyen, senior policy manager for the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, said, “the Build Back Better Act is America’s best, and currently our only opportunity to take meaningful action on climate change at the scale that the moment demands.” He added that “it will invest in communities that are too often left behind” and will “empower communities with a clean energy, sustainability accelerator … targeted to disadvantaged communities.”
N. McKeller Crosby, a board member of Main Street Alliance, said, “a universal paid family and medical leave program is a small business-boosting policy. It’s an investment in our workforce and the entrepreneurs driving our economy and leading our recovery.” They added, “universal paid leave must be part of how we begin to build back better for a stronger, more resilient, and more equitable economy.”
Sarah Steely, director of No Kid Hungry Virginia said, “it is really hard to overstate the impacts that child tax credit can — and is — having on the lives of our kids. This program has the power to cut child poverty in half. It advances equity, it strengthens families, and it fights hunger by making sure that parents and caregivers are in a place to support and feed their kids.”
In a recorded special message, health care and social justice activist Ady Barkan said, “home care is literally keeping me alive, but in Virginia and across the country, millions of disabled people and seniors do not have access to home care.” He noted, “over 13,000 Virginians are on Medicaid’s waiting list for home and community-based services” and said that “full funding will also raise wages for professional caregivers, the majority of whom are women of color, and it will give new choices to the 1 in 10 caregivers who were forced to leave their paid jobs to care for a loved one.”
Barkan concluded, “I know Senator Warner will join us because this is our chance, an unprecedented opportunity to improve the lives of disabled people, seniors, care workers and their families. Every person deserves to live safely and with dignity. Now is the time to extend that fundamental right to all with full funding to home and community-based services.”
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