WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Judiciary and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees, today voted for the Build Back Better Act review rule, landmark legislation investing in the country’s social safety net. The measure finally closes Tennessee’s Medicaid coverage gap and offers action once in a generation to reduce the daily costs that weigh on working families – from health care and child care to education and more – and is fully paid by making big business and the wealthiest individuals pay their fair share.

Passing the rule today, on a vote of 221 to 213, brings the measure closer to a vote in the entire House.

After the vote on the rule, Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“This vote brings us closer to a historic vote on an excellent bill that meets the needs of the country with common sense solutions to the pressing concerns of daily life. We are investing in our children’s future with universal preschool education, an extended child tax credit reducing child poverty, a commitment to parents raising children with paid time off for workers and the biggest expansion of affordable health care for a decade. This bill will finally provide coverage for the 118,000 low-income Tennessee residents who have been denied coverage due to state lawmakers’ refusal to extend Medicaid and will cut premiums for Tennessee’s middle class by hundreds. dollars per year with enhanced ACA grants. This is the bill the country has been waiting for. I am proud to have defended its provisions over the years and I am even more proud to see them progress in the House today. It is a bright day for America.

Congressman Cohen spoke twice this week to encourage his colleagues to support the Build Back Better framework while it was still under negotiation. See these speeches here and here.

Led by President Biden and the Democrats in Congress, the Build Back Better Act will be transformative for nearly every family in Tennessee: making historic investments that meet their needs in the aftermath of the pandemic and ensure everyone can share in the benefits of a growing economy now and for generations to come.

Build Back Better framework will be useful for Tennessee

President Biden’s Build Back Better framework will finally close the Medicaid coverage gap and cut costs that have held back Tennessee families for decades by lowering taxes and making child care, home care, home care, home care, and home care. more affordable education, health care and housing. These unprecedented investments will provide new learning opportunities for children, help parents and especially working parents make ends meet, and position the economy for stronger growth for years to come. Framework will create well-paying jobs for Tennessee residents, tackle climate change, give our children cleaner air
and water and making America the leader in 21st century global innovation and manufacturing.

The Build Back Better law will:

Provide access to affordable child care. Child care is a major constraint for families in Tennessee, where the average annual cost of a daycare for a toddler is $ 9,998, meaning a Tennessee family with two young children would spend in average 24% of his income to child care for a year. The lack of affordable options also makes it difficult for parents, and especially mothers, to stay in their jobs, contributing to the 21% gap between men and women in labor market participation between mothers and women. fathers in Tennessee. The Build Back Better framework will enable Tennessee to provide access to child care for 421,870 young children (ages 0-5) per year from families earning less than 2.5 times the median income in Tennessee (approximately $ 191,121 for a family of 4), and to ensure that these families pay no more than 7 percent of their income on quality child care.

To provide a universal, high quality, free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds in America. Today, only 11% of Tennessee’s 165,717 3- and 4-year-olds have access to a state-funded preschool program, and it costs about $ 8,600 per year for those who cannot access a funded program. by the state. The Build Back Better framework will enable Tennessee to expand access to free, high-quality preschool to more than 148,048 additional children aged 3 and 4 per year and improve the quality of preschool for children. children already registered. Parents will be able to send their children to the preschool of their choice, from public schools to daycares to Head Start, leading to lifelong educational benefits, allowing more parents to return to work and establishing a stronger foundation for Tennessee’s economic future. competitiveness.

Address the existential threat of climate change. From 2010 to 2020, Tennessee experienced 40 extreme weather events, which cost up to $ 20 billion in damage. The Build Back Better framework will put the United States on track to meet its climate goals – a 50 to 52 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030 – in a way that creates well-paying union jobs, develops national industries and advances environmental justice. The framework represents the largest investment ever in our clean energy economy – in buildings, transportation, industry, power, agriculture and climate smart practices in our lands and waters. . And the framework will create a new Civilian Climate Corps that will enlist a diverse generation of Tennesséens to conserve our public lands, build community resilience, and tackle climate change, all while putting well-paying union jobs at their fingertips. In clean energy and other sectors, the Build Back Better framework will also strengthen national manufacturing and supply chains for essential goods, benefiting American businesses, workers, consumers and communities. .

Expand health care coverage and reduce costs. Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege, and Tennessee residents facing illness should never have to worry about how they’re going to pay for treatment. Build Back Better framework will close the Medicaid coverage gap to help millions of Americans get health insurance, extend American Rescue Plan health insurance premium reductions until 2025 for those who purchase health insurance coverage on their own and will help older Americans access affordable hearing care by expanding Medicare. In Tennessee, that means 289,000 uninsured people will receive coverage, including the 118,000 who fell into the Medicaid coverage gap, and 134,900 will save an average of hundreds of dollars per year. In addition, the Build Back Better framework will support maternal health and invest in national preparedness for future pandemics.

Make education beyond high school more affordable and accessible. The average cost for a 2-year degree in Tennessee is $ 4,639 per year and $ 10,575 per year for a 4-year degree, which puts a strain on many student budgets. To help unlock opportunities for education beyond high school, the Build Back Better framework will increase the maximum Pell Grant by $ 550 for students from public and private nonprofit institutions, supporting the 101,066 students of the Tennessee which depend on Pell. The framework will also invest in the 12 institutions serving Tennessee’s minorities and the students they serve, including historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), tribal colleges and universities (TCU), and Hispanic institutions (HSI).

Train American workers for the jobs of the future. Among the world’s largest economies, the United States is second-last in investing in workforce development, and funding for federal skills training programs has since fallen by nearly half. 2001. The Build Back Better framework invests in training programs that will prepare
workers for high-quality jobs in fast-growing industries like public health, child care, manufacturing, IT and clean energy. 13 Tennessee public community colleges will have the opportunity to receive grants to develop and deliver innovative training programs and expand proven ones.

Provide nutritious food choices for children. 16 percent of children in Tennessee live in food insecure households, which affects their long-term health and their ability to do well in school. The Build Back Better framework will ensure the nutritional needs of Tennessee children are met by expanding access to free school meals to an additional 110,000 students during the school year and by providing 615,610 students with resources to purchase food during the school year. summer.

Reduce housing costs and expand housing options. 396,000 tenants in Tennessee are burdened with rent, which means they spend more than 30% of their income on rent, while homeownership remains out of reach for many families. The Build Back Better framework will expand rent assistance for tenants in Tennessee, while increasing the supply of high-quality housing through the construction and rehabilitation of
over one million affordable housing units across the country. It will meet the capital needs of the entire public housing stock in the United States and includes one of the largest down payment assistance investments in history, enabling more first-time buyers. generation to buy their first home.

Support families with long-term care needs. The need for high-quality, accessible and affordable care for older Americans and Americans with disabilities is growing, but high costs and care shortages leave many people dependent on their families for unpaid care. The Build Back Better framework will expand access to home and community care to people
more seniors and disabled citizens of Tennessee; and improve the quality and wages of care jobs.

Reduce taxes for families and workers. Before the pandemic, 11% of children under 18 in Tennessee lived in poverty. The Build Back Better framework will strengthen financial security and drive economic growth in Tennessee by lowering taxes for the middle class and those struggling to infiltrate it. Framework will expand child tax
The credit (CTC) increases by $ 300 / month per child under 6 or $ 250 / month per child aged 6 to 17. This will continue the largest year-long reduction in child poverty in history. Most importantly, the deal includes the permanent repayment of the child tax credit, meaning families most in need will continue to receive the full child tax credit in the long run. The framework also provides a tax cut of up to $ 1,500 for 381,400 low-wage workers in Tennessee by extending the expansion of the US bailout’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

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