As the U.S. Senate is poised to consider President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) urges all Senators to “get to yes” and pass a robust, equitable and sustainable budget reconciliation package that will advance social well-being, promote health, and create an inclusive economy.
The final legislation should be as comprehensive as possible and at a minimum:
- Extend the expansion of the Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan, which is estimated to reduce child poverty by 40 percent.
- Invest in Housing Choice Vouchers.
- Close the Medicaid coverage gap and permanently increase premium tax credits to make marketplace coverage more affordable and help more uninsured people to enroll.
- Expand access to long-term care services under Medicaid.
- Lower health care costs for Medicare beneficiaries and add dental, vision and hearing coverage.
- Include provisions to reform Unemployment Insurance and update and expand Supplemental Security Income
- Create a progressive paid family and medical leave program, addressing a major gap in the nation’s caregiving infrastructure.
- Guarantee access to voluntary, free preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year-olds in participating states and make childcare affordable for parents with children up to age 5.
- Make higher education more affordable across a range of institutions by increasing the maximum Pell Grant, eliminating community college tuition and fees in participating states, and supporting institutions dedicated to serving Black, Hispanic, and American Indian students.
- Provide clean energy tax credits, incentives and investments.
We are at a historic time in our country to advance investments in human infrastructure to protect vulnerable Americans. We urge every Senator to stand up, find common ground, and support this vital legislation.