11.19.21

Kilmer Votes to Invest in Middle Class Families, Reduce Costs, and Lower Taxes

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to support the Build Back Better Act – comprehensive legislation to lower costs for families, reduce taxes for families, ensure people have economic opportunity, and combat the climate crisis. The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives 220-213.

“Middle class families deserve a break,” said Rep. Kilmer. “I’ve heard from so many parents – particularly working moms – who have felt sidelined in our economy because they couldn’t secure affordable, accessible child care. The Build Back Better Act will help with that. I’ve heard from so many people struggling to pay for health care, prescription drugs, and elder care. The Build Back Better Act will reduce costs for those needs. This bill will help families access affordable housing and better afford college. That’s a game-changer. And it will provide tax relief for families in our region who have been feeling the pinch for far too long. These are all priorities that will make a difference for folks in our neck of the woods.”

Kilmer continued, “The Build Back Better Act is also about creating jobs. This bill provides new help to small businesses and will support innovation and job creation related to combating the climate crisis. And, with the inclusion of a pilot project for the bipartisan RECOMPETE Act that I introduced, it will help create jobs in areas that have been struggling, so people can have economic opportunity regardless of what zip code they live in.”

The Build Back Better Act aims to address the needs of middle-class families. As outlined in a White House fact sheet, these needs include:

  • Child care: the average annual cost for child care in Washington is over $13,400. The Build Back Better Act will expand access for over 470,100 young Washingtonians and ensure that no Washington family pays more than seven percent of their income on child care.
  • Early education: only 22 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds in Washington have access to publicly funded pre-K, while the average cost of private pre-K in the state is $8,600.  The Build Back Better Act will expand access to free, high-quality pre-K to more than 181,000 young Washingtonians – setting these children up for lifelong success and saving their parents thousands of dollars.
  • Health care: by closing the Medicaid gap, expanding Medicare to include hearing care and extending relief for insurance purchased through the ACA, the Build Back Better Act will help 108,000 Washingtonians gain coverage and over 89,000 Washington families save hundreds on health costs each year – while also making home health care for elderly parents or loved ones with disabilities more affordable and accessible.
  • Prescription drugs: The Build Back Better Act will enable Medicare to negotiate prices for high-cost prescriptions drugs – including drugs seniors get at the pharmacy counter (through Medicare Part D), and drugs that are administered in a doctor’s office (through Medicare Part B). It will also directly lower out-of-pocket costs for seniors, ensuring seniors never pay more than $2,000 a year for their drugs under Medicare Part D. The plan will also lower insulin prices so that Americans with diabetes don’t pay more than $35 per month for their insulin.
  • Lower taxes: before the Child Tax Credit was expanded in the American Rescue Plan, 9 percent of Washington children lived in poverty. The Build Back Better Act extends this tax cut and continues the historic progress being made toward reducing child poverty.  More than 121,000 kids in Washington’s 6th Congressional District will receive this tax credit.
  • Climate impacts: Washington has experienced 10 extreme weather events over the last decade, which has cost Washington families more than $5 billion. By reducing carbon pollution, bolstering community resilience, and strengthening the American clean energy economy, the Build Back Better Act will create good-paying union jobs, advance environmental justice and save Washington families the steep costs of recovery.
  • Workforce training: Of the world’s biggest economies, the United States is second to last in investing in workforce development, and funding for federal job training programs has dropped by almost half since 2001. The Build Back Better Act invests in training programs that will prepare Washington’s workers for high-quality jobs in fast-growing sectors like public health, child care, manufacturing, IT, and clean energy. Thirty-four public community colleges in Washington will have the opportunity to benefit from grants to develop and deliver innovative training programs and expand proven ones.
  • Affordable housing: 487,000 renters in Washington are rent burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent, while homeownership remains out of reach for many families. The Build Back Better Act will expand rental assistance for Washington renters, while also increasing the supply of high-quality, affordable housing through the construction and rehabilitation of over 1 million affordable housing units nationwide. It will address the capital needs of the entire public housing stock in America, and it includes one of the largest investments in down payment assistance in history, enabling more first-generation homebuyers to purchase their first home.

The Build Back Better Act also includes a pilot project of the bipartisan Rebuilding Economies and Creating Opportunities for More People Everywhere to Excel Act (RECOMPETE Act). The RECOMPETE Act, which Rep. Kilmer introduced with U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and the support of over 50 Members of Congress, would establish a new federal grant program at the Economic Development Administration (EDA) that would empower persistently distressed communities to develop, implement, and carry out 10-year economic development strategies and create jobs. The Recompete Pilot Grant, included in the Build Back Better Act, would provide $1.2 billion for EDA to establish this critical economic development program.

The full fact sheet from the White House is available here.