The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) commends the 48 United States Senators who have agreed to vote in favor of the Build Back Better Act. We also implore all Senators, in particular Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), to support this legislation, which is crucial in advancing social well-being, promoting health equity, and creating an inclusive economy. It will also help the nation recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We believe 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.
- 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 have a historic opportunity to advance investments in human infrastructure and to protect vulnerable Americans. Again, we urge Sens. Sinema and Manchin to join their colleagues in supporting this vital legislation so we can get the 50 votes needed for passage.