For Immediate Release
Contact: Natalia Pérez Santos

AFSCME’s Saunders: Build Back Better deal marks ‘sea change moment’ that will prioritize the needs of working families

AFSCME President Lee Saunders released the following statement today after President Joe Biden announced the details of a breakthrough deal on the Biden-Harris administration’s Build Back Better agenda:

“For decades, we have confronted a rigged system that has starved working people of opportunity while rewarding and privileging the super-wealthy. Finally, that’s changing.

“We need a sturdy foundation for an economy that prioritizes the needs and interests of working people. That’s what Build Back Better is all about. The framework announced today represents a fundamental shift in the priorities of the federal government. It is the biggest hand-up to working families in generations, while requiring that the wealthy and big corporations begin paying their fair share in taxes. Combined with the separate bill to rebuild our roads, bridges, and water systems – a package that will create millions of middle-class union jobs – we are on the cusp of a transformational investment in both our physical and human infrastructure.

“Universal pre-kindergarten education alone is a landmark achievement. The same can be said for giving 20 million kids access to quality child care; for providing free school meals to 8.7 million children during the school year; for huge investments in home care services; for an unprecedented expansion of affordable housing; for clean energy tax credits and the other climate change mitigation elements of the bill. Combined, they add up to sweeping, historic change that will improve millions upon millions of lives. And AFSCME members will be instrumental in delivering the additional services provided in the bill.

“Not every important priority is addressed in the framework – to get to a compromise, some items could not be included. But they are not being abandoned, only deferred. We will continue to work on limiting the rising cost of prescription drugs for people of all ages. We will continue to fight for paid family leave and free community college, among other things.

“This is a huge, sea change moment. The passage of these two bills would close the book on the age of austerity. It would take critical steps toward unrigging the system, restoring balance to the economy, and finally reinvesting in working families and communities. On behalf of 1.4 million AFSCME members, I urge Congress to pass them both immediately.”