Lobby groups representing the wealthy and big corporations — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, ExxonMobil, and Pfizer — are spending tens of millions of dollars to attack the most transformative and equitable budget proposal in a generation.
We, the undersigned labor, environmental, faith, justice and community-focused organizations urge Congress to stand up to this pressure and pass President Biden’s bold $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan by the end of September. This downpayment on the needs of our communities begins to meet the full scale of our country’s climate, poverty, and inequality emergencies and reform a tax system rigged in favor of the wealthy and large corporations.
Biden’s Build Back Better plan and the Senate and House budget resolutions passed in August paved the way for many of the priorities that House committees are now considering for inclusion in budget reconciliation legislation. These proposals would:
- Extend the expanded Child Tax Credit, lifting millions of children out of poverty
- Guarantee 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for all workers
- Make preschool for 3 and 4 year olds universal
- Make childcare, college, health insurance and housing more affordable
- Slash climate pollution by dramatically expanding access to clean energy and clean transportation
- Replace lead pipes, cut air and water pollution, and shield communities from climate disasters
- Expand access to clean buildings, including affordable housing and healthy schools
- Foster better, more affordable access to home and community based care for seniors
- Expand Medicare benefits to include dental, hearing and vision
- Allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices to lower costs
- and so much more…
Such investments would be a major boost to all working families, but especially to the tens of millions of poor and low-income people — disproportionately people of color — who have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession and have not yet recovered.
The budget framework passed in August calls for $3.5 trillion over 10 years (~1 percent of GDP annually) to be spent on these priorities. Lawmakers’ desire to fully pay for these investments should not affect the size or scope of the package. Congress can easily raise more than $3.5 trillion in revenue from corporations and the wealthy who have seen their profits and net worth skyrocket for decades. The wealth of the country’s 708 billionaires alone rose by $1.8 trillion, or 62 percent, during the pandemic — enough to pay for half of the ten-year cost of the $3.5 trillion package.
President Biden has proposed that we tax wealth like work and close the loopholes that let millionaires, billionaires and corporations get away with paying less than their fair share in taxes. His proposal would tax investment income of the wealthy at the same rate as income from wages and close the loophole that lets the wealthy avoid paying taxes on investment gains for their entire lives and then pass those gains to their heirs tax free. A 28 percent corporate tax rate on domestic profits and a 21 percent tax rate on offshore profits would ensure that U.S. corporations pay their fair share by closing loopholes that encourage them to outsource jobs and shift profits to tax havens. With proposed increases in IRS funding and stronger reporting requirements so that the wealthy can’t hide their income from taxation, we can crack down on wealthy and corporate tax dodgers. Lobbyists for the rich and powerful are attacking all of these common-sense reforms.
A robust Build Back Better plan is supported by three out of four voters. The passage of this plan would be an important move toward addressing the interlocking crises of poverty, inequality, climate change, and racism. Ultimately, our nation needs a 3rd Reconstruction to provide living wages, strengthen our democracy, curb violence and militarism in our communities, and prioritize the millions of poor and low-income people in the country and their needs. To advance toward that goal, Congress must step up and do the right thing and live up to its Constitutional and moral commitments to establish justice and the general welfare. Now is not the time to let deep-pocketed corporate lobbyists stand in the way of vital public investments in an economy that works for all of us.
Institute for Policy Studies
Economic Policy Institute
Adelante Alabama Worker Center