In These Times - March 2, 2022
With a stroke of a pen, President Biden could improve lives for millions of working people. To strengthen the state of the union, now is the time for transformative action.
I’m Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. I am the proud daughter of Palestinian immigrant parents that grew up in the most beautiful, Blackest city in the country — Detroit. I am honored to be with you tonight to elevate the voices of the families and communities across the country that continue to be left behind. As the mother of two boys and the eldest of 14 children, I have been taking care of people all my life. My service in Congress is guided by my roots. That’s why I’m committed to standing up for communities that just want the opportunity to thrive.
In the richest country in the world, it shouldn’t be this hard for so many to have a good life. Tonight, I am proud to deliver a response on behalf of the Working Families Party — a voice for the multiracial working class, fighting for a nation that cares for all of us.
Two years ago, we couldn’t have imagined a pandemic that has taken nearly a million lives here at home and nearly six million around the world. When President Biden took office just over a year ago, he took action. He started getting shots in arms, and acted quickly to deliver emergency relief. Congress approved direct relief checks. We helped our working parents. Stopped evictions. Sent resources to our schools and our local and state governments.
We showed the potential of an administration and Congress that act together at the scale of the challenges we all face. We showed how our government can be in the service of the working class majority, not just the wealthy few. And it worked: President Biden and Congress stopped what could have been economic freefall. Not a single Republican voted for that relief package — not one.
President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation brought people together. We saw people who want to see child care in the same room with those working on climate. Folks working on housing justice in the same room as those working on health care. The President did that. Build Back Better did that.
Build Back Better’s investment increases access to healthcare and lower prescription drug costs would be life changing. It fights climate change with major investments in clean renewable energy, green jobs, and clean water that would transform our communities. It would uplift our nation by preserving and building affordable housing, and investing in children and families with affordable childcare, universal pre‑K, paid leave and free community college. And these popular investments would be paid for by making the wealthy and giant corporations pay their fair share.
No one fought harder for President Biden’s agenda than progressives. We rallied with our supporters, held town halls in our communities, engaged new people and we even played hardball in Congress.
Some important parts of the President’s agenda became law with the infrastructure bill, but we campaigned on doing even more. Roads and bridges are critical, but so are childcare and prescription drugs — and we shouldn’t have to choose.
People like India Beckum, a mother of seven children in my district who is the sole provider for her family. The expanded Child Tax Credit helped her catch up on bills and meet her family’s basic needs. But now that lifeline is gone. We can’t give up on her and millions of people like her. With the majority of the Build Back Better agenda stalled, Mr. President, the work is unfinished. But we are ready to jumpstart our efforts again. We still have time to lower costs for working families and preserve a livable planet for our grandchildren — but we have to act now. The super rich got richer during the pandemic, while Ms. Beckum and others face higher costs and new barriers that will forever alter their children’s future.
Read full response at In These Times