The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy urges Senator Manchin to recognize the urgent needs of our state and to act quickly to support workers and families in West Virginia.
In a statement released earlier this week, Senator Manchin suggested that the need is neither urgent nor great because we are not “in recession” and while “millions of jobs remain open”. Senator Manchin also says he does not think we need to fundamentally reshape the “social and economic fabric of this nation”.
We find these feelings difficult to reconcile with the reality on the ground in our state. Families and working people in West Virginia – especially low- and middle-income families, rural residents, and West Virginia residents of color – are facing an uneven economic recovery in more than decades of low wages, childcare deserts, lack of benefits like paid time off and child poverty levels.
While we agree that Congress must pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, we know our needs go beyond investments in our roads and bridges. This is why we believe Congress should pass both the bipartisan infrastructure framework and the Build Back Better Act.
The Build Back Better plan will give workers and children a fair chance, making it easier for West Virginia to afford health care, child care and housing, making it easier to get and keep of employment by workers. This will dramatically reduce our embarrassingly high rates of child poverty globally. And it would create jobs and boost our economy while making it easier for West Virginia small businesses to compete domestically and internationally.
These investments won’t cost low- and middle-income West Virginia families a dime. The bill can and must be paid by closing tax loopholes that benefit billionaires and businesses and reversing the unbalanced and tax-reckless tax cuts for the rich passed in 2017 – a priority we’re happy to see. Senator Manchin says he supports.
The urgent moment is now. To truly meet the needs of West Virginia, we ask Senator Manchin to help build a focused and accountable reconciliation program that:
?? Retain the full child tax credit for all children, including those from low-income families, which will lead to a massive reduction in child poverty.
?? Ensure that children whose families need help paying for child care receive it, that the quality of child care improves and workers receive adequate wages, and that Strong childcare assistance reaches children in all states.
?? Include a strong paid family and medical leave policy to ensure that no one has to choose between their job and their health or that of a loved one.
?? Ensuring that West Virginia and the Appalachians receive their fair share of clean energy and climate investments that create well-paying jobs for the future.
?? Make sure billionaires like Jeff Bezos and big business pay federal income taxes, just like West Virginia families do, and close the tax gap by ensuring the IRS has the resources and resources. the information he needs to prosecute tax evasion.
?? Include a solid investment in housing vouchers that will put affordable, stable housing within reach of millions of low-income Americans and go a long way in ending homelessness.
– Kelly Allen is the Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.