UnidosUS President and CEO: Build Back Better Act a Transformative Step Towards Real, Equitable Progress for American Families

The Build Back Better Act will create jobs and improve the lives of many Americans, including Latinos and other historically underserved communities

WASHINGTON, DC—In response to the vote by the House of Representatives to send the Build Back Better Act to the Senate, UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía issued the following statement:

“The Build Back Better Act is a once-in-a-generation investment that will help bring our country’s most underserved communities more fully into American life and represents a transformative step on the path towards an equitable economic recovery.

“The Build Back Better Act is arguably the most consequential piece of legislation to pass the House in a generation. It will provide quality, affordable health coverage to the millions of uninsured Americans—including more than 600,000 Latinos. The measure will extend the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and summer nutrition programs and establish universal pre-K. Students will benefit from increased Pell grants and the extra support to stay in school and earn a college degree. The measure will also expand access to affordable housing, child care, home care and the tools we need to tackle climate change.

“We welcome the extension of CTC expansions, and in particular, the restoration of benefit eligibility for immigrant children. This tax credit is a powerful anti-poverty tool central to the well-being of all Latino children who experience disproportionate rates of poverty. The inclusion of paid leave is paramount to addressing the structural inequalities that have long plagued many Americans, including millions of Latinas who are forced to cut their hours or leave their jobs due to child care needs.

“We all know that a lasting recovery from the pandemic depends on the vital, ongoing contributions of immigrant workers and their families. While we are disappointed that a path to citizenship was ultimately omitted from this effort, we applaud the bill’s meaningful legal protections for undocumented workers who will be able to work and seek permission to travel without fear of being deported. Our North Star is and will remain securing a path to citizenship for undocumented essential workers, DREAMers, TPS holders and farmworkers, and the fight for that reality continues with this important first step.

“Not to be lost in the mix are the unprecedented investments in fostering an equitable approach to executing federal programs that, until now, have left our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories on the outside looking in. We applaud the reach of the anti-poverty provisions included in this measure—like the improvements to Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program, and equal access for families to the CTC, Earned Income Tax Credits, and Supplemental Security Income program—and recognize the profound impact on Puerto Rican families currently living in poverty.

“Today, UnidosUS commends the House for advancing legislation that will help usher in a more inclusive era of American progress. We will work hard to protect the Latino policy priorities in this package through Senate deliberations and ensure it reaches the president’s desk as soon as possible,” Murguía concluded.