Huffman, AOC tout Build Back Better in forum

October 16, 2021

In a virtual town hall conference hosted alongside New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, California North Coast Rep. Jared Huffman pointed to the need to pass a proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill in order to address the effects of climate change.

“We’ve got a historic once-in-a-generation, maybe once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity to do something big. When you think about the climate crisis. This may be our last opportunity,” Huffman said during the forum held Friday afternoon.

During the town hall, Huffman spoke about the status of negotiations regarding the proposed $3.5 trillion legislation, part of the White House’s “Build Back Better” plan, stating there are a lot of mischaracterizations over how House Democrats are handling the situation.

The North Coast congressman says there is major support for the bill.

“There’s a lot of mischaracterizations and misunderstandings about what’s really going on,” he said. “Starting with the narrative that there’s this huge divide among Democrats. Rep. Ocasio Cortez and I, our progressive colleagues, President Biden, our House leadership, Senate leadership and 96% of our colleagues in the House and the Senate are all standing for the full vision of President Biden’s jobs and people agenda.”

However, both representatives pointed to West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema as being unsupportive of the bill.

Huffman said both holdouts want to tell the White House what their bottom line is, with President Biden brokering an agreement that will also resonate with the progressive caucus.

“They’re standing in the way of doing something really transformative, maybe the biggest thing we’ve done since the new deal in terms of transforming people’s lives, certainly the biggest thing we’ve ever done to confront this existential threat of the climate crisis.” Huffman said.

With constant talks of deadlines for the bills and funds running out, Huffman told viewers these are not as major an issue.

“There is no hard and fast deadline. We extended the Department of Transportation temporary funding to the end of this month. If we don’t get this deal done by then, we will need to extend that funding again,” he elaborated.

The $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill includes measures addressing climate change like renewable energy investments, Medicare expansions and family aid assistance for services such as child care.

Ocasio Cortez pointed to the importance of said programs as a part of getting people back to work.

“If the cost of child care is pretty much your entire paycheck, then it’s not going to be worth it to go to work,” she said as an example.

“The reconciliation bill really fills the missing puzzle pieces for our economic infrastructure in order for us to not only have the services that we need, but for us to be actually happier and be more dignified in our lives. So (it includes) things like universal pre-K, child care, expansion of Medicare, as well as really important climate provisions,” the New York representative continued.

Huffman later pointed to the popularity of some provisions in the bill, pointing out the choice was not a hard one for opponents.

“Every one of them is wildly popular. We’re not asking anyone to take a tough vote,” Huffman said.

Mario Cortez can be reached at 707-441-0526.

By:  Mario Cortez
Source: Eureka Times-Standard