U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Katherine Clark say they’re not backing down after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin blew up the $2 trillion Build Back Better Act over the weekend.
The Democratic congresswomen, in Cambridge on Monday touting the importance of Child Tax Credit payments in the legislation, stressed that they’re not giving up despite the key swing vote in the Senate saying he cannot support the “mammoth” bill.
“I’m not ready to concede defeat on anything here,” Pressley said about the legislation after touring the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee to highlight federal funding that has helped reduce food insecurity.
“I’m going to continue to keep the pressure up,” she said, later adding, “I do not have the luxury of growing weary, cynical or apathetic. I have to keep fighting until the very end.”
Clark, as assistant speaker, and others in the House of Representatives have spent months negotiating the Build Back Better Act, she said.
A “huge” percentage of the bill is already agreed to, Clark added.
“We do not accept no,” she said. “No means that we are turning our back on the American people, the American children. It means we’re turning our back on the planet, and it means that we are turning our back on rebuilding this economy.”
“This is what we have to do, so I do not accept a phrase on a Sunday talk show as the closing down of what we need to do to support our country, our democracy and our economy at this time,” Clark later added.
In March, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which increased the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children over 6 years old — and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under 6. The last payment under the American Rescue Plan was sent to families last week.
The Build Back Better Act would extend the enhanced Child Tax Credit into 2022.
“These payments, they’ve been game changers,” Pressley said. “Failure is not an option … Millions of children will slip back into child poverty if we don’t act in this moment.”
Manchin when announcing his opposition to the $2 trillion bill called it a “mammoth piece of legislation.”
Pressley agreed that it is “mammoth…to meet the mammoth hurt that our families are experiencing.”
Manchin also said he can’t support the bill because of inflation.
“The best way to combat inflation is to get this pandemic under control, which is why we need the investments of the Build Back Better Act, so we have to pass this bill,” Pressley said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a letter to colleagues on Monday said the Senate will consider the Build Back Better Act “very early in the new year.”
Schumer wrote, “We are going to vote on a revised version of the House-passed Build Back Better Act — and we will keep voting on it until we get something done.”
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