The OPCMIA is deeply dismayed by Sen. Joe Manchin’s statement on Fox News yesterday that he opposes the Build Back Better Act. We hope he swiftly reconsiders his stance on legislation that would do more to improve the lives of working families and rebuild America’s middle class than any bill in at least a generation.
Sen. Manchin’s newly-stated position—at odds with the assurances he gave the Biden Administration and his congressional colleagues—will cause direct harm to 170,000 West Virginia children, because their families will no longer receive monthly checks of $250 or $300 starting January 1, 2022. This expanded Child Tax Credit has reduced child poverty by 8.1 percent. Sen. Manchin’s refusal to extend it into next year will result in lower living standards and real suffering among the most vulnerable in his state.
Sen. Manchin’s newly-stated position will also prevent families from receiving free universal prekindergarten for their three- and four-year-old children, from having their child care payments limited to 7 percent of income, and from receiving paid family and medical leave.
Sen. Manchin’s newly-stated position will force 9 million Americans to pay higher health care premiums than if the Build Back Better Act became law, and leave millions more uninsured. It will prevent Medicare recipients from receiving coverage for hearing services and paying less for prescription drugs.
And Sen. Manchin’s newly-stated position will block what AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler calls “the most significant advancement for the right to organize since passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935.”
I’m from Southwestern Pennsylvania, an area which borders on West Virginia and shares much in common with the state economically and culturally. And I can say from first-hand experience that my neighbors—just like so many people in West Virginia—are the very people who would be helped most by the Build Back Better Act.
I urge Sen. Manchin as strongly as I know how to reconsider the impact of his decision on the lives of the people he represents and claims to fight for, and to return to the bargaining table in good faith to pass this urgently-needed investment in America’s working families. And I urge our members to call the senator with the same message.
Daniel E. Stepano