The Build Back Better Plan, which has been widely referred to as the reconciliation bill, is a $3.5 trillion initiative that will create millions of jobs and make critical investments in several areas.
This includes additional funding to combat the climate crisis, address drought and wildfires, as well as creating new clean energy and manufacturing jobs. In addition, funds will be allocated to affordable housing, down payment assistance, and efforts to end homelessness.
The bill includes $322 billion in funding to support federal housing programs. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, there were more than 580,000 people who experienced homelessness in the past year. In addition, historically minorities and lower income Americans have had difficulties obtaining funding to purchase a home.
Parts of our nation’s vital infrastructure need to be upgraded or replaced entirely. The legislation provides $30 billion for the full replacement of lead service lines in drinking water systems across the United States, which will help improve health in communities by providing access to healthier drinking water.
There is also $5 billion for local and state projects that address environmental and public health issues. From my point of view, this is a critical piece of the funding because it allows the local community to determine what the priority should be and where the money should go provided it is focused on providing solutions for the environment.
The infrastructure bill will provide approximately $65 billion to upgrade the nation’s power infrastructure, including investments in research and development. We saw last year the challenges faced by families losing power in Texas, and the continued development of grid technology will make it easier to provide continuous power to all Americans.
These investments in energy, housing, and infrastructure are what we need right now, especially with the problems our economy has experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I hope this article provides some additional clarity on the benefits of the two bills being considered by Congress.
From my perspective, they are a big step in the right direction.
Teresa M. Lundy is the Principal and Founder of TML Communications, a strategic public relations, crisis communications and community engagement firm serving corporations, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Follow Teresa on Twitter @TeresaMLundy