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Community Leaders: Pass Build Back Better Bill

Updated: Oct 30, 2021

Leaders from UnidosUS, CPLC, Valle del Sol cite bill's potential to lift families out of poverty

Community advocates tout benefits of Build Back Better bill. photo by Phil Soto

By Jonathan J. Higuera

Leaders of Latinx-serving community organizations based in Phoenix urged U.S. Congress to pass a $1.75 trillion Build Back Better reconciliation bill, which they said would be a “historic investment” to lift children and families out of poverty.

At a press conference Friday at the Arizona State Capitol, the leaders acknowledged Congress is still negotiating specific measures but the overall framework, if passed, would be a major boost to Latinx families and others if the current provisions in the bill remain.

“All these measures are groundbreaking and will have a particular impact on Latinos with children, including my own child,” said Elizabeth Salazar, Arizona director of the Arizona Action Fund, which is part of the national organization UnidosUS, one of the nation’s largest Latinx advocacy organizations.

In particular, the community leaders cited provisions that would extend the Child Tax Credit, expand affordable health care, provide summer nutrition programs, and offer universal pre-kindergarten to 3- and 4-year-olds, as game-changing policy for Latinx families.

“This bill represents real progress for Latino families in Arizona and for families nationwide,” said Lydia Guzmán, director of advocacy and engagement for Chicanos Por La Causa, one of the nation’s largest community development organizations serving Latinx communities. “It’s going to help them get back on their feet.”

The leaders expressed disappointment about some of the proposals that seem to have been taken out of the bill such as paid family leave, immigration reform, free tuition for community college and pharmaceutical drug pricing reforms but remained hopeful that some can be restored to the bill, which is still awaiting a vote in the House before it heads to the Senate.

David Lujan, president and CEO of the Children’s Action Alliance, said the Build Back Better bill is “one of the most consequential pieces of legislation” in decades.

“We are urging the Arizona congressional delegation to pass this,” he said.

“This framework is a chance to take a huge step forward to increase opportunity, reduce poverty and shrink racial inequities for Arizona children, families and workers.”

The funding mechanism for the bill’s price tag relies on higher tax rates for large corporations and ultra wealthy individuals, which will make the tax system fairer, said Carmen Heredia, CEO of Valle del Sol, a federally qualified community health center.

“Congress needs to stop protecting drug companies’ profits,” she said.

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