Seniors would have lower drug prices and a better chance of living out their days at home.

Working parents would pay less for childcare.

People buying electric cars or installing rooftop solar would receive tax incentives.

And, combined with the infrastructure package recently signed into law, 2.4 million new jobs would be created.

Those are among the benefits touted by U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, at a press conference Monday on the Build Back Better plan.

The Build Back Better plan narrowly won approval in the U.S. House on Friday. The Senate is expected to begin deliberating on it after taking a Thanksgiving break.

DeFazio said the infrastructure plan was part one and Build Back Better part two “of the president’s plan to move America into the 21st century in so many ways.”

The bill invests about $500 billion in measures intended to “take the most meaningful steps ever” to combat climate change, DeFazio said.

“Climate change threatens everything we care about, everything we know about, everything we love about Oregon. The future of the planet is at risk,” he said.

“We have to address this more meaningfully than we have so far,” he said.

It also invests in the country’s social infrastructure.

It aims to help families by funding prekindergarten, limiting the cost of childcare, making the child tax credit permanent, and feeding hungry kids.

The child tax credit alone, DeFazio said, would lift more than 9,000 kids in his district out of poverty.

It invests in elder care, helping keep elders in their homes as they age rather than forcing them into institutions. That, DeFazio said, will save the taxpayers money, too.

Childcare and eldercare workers would be paid a living wage. Today, many are “not getting paid anywhere near what they’re worth,” he said.

Build Back Better would also enable Medicare to bargain for lower drug prices, reducing the costs of those drugs for seniors.

DeFazio said the cost of the new measures will be paid for by making the largest corporations pay their “fair share.”

Corporations with more than $1 billion in profits would pay a minimum 15% tax rate. A corporation would pay a 1% excise tax when they buy back their own stocks. And the wealthiest Americans would pay a surtax — 5% on incomes over $10 million and 8% on incomes over $25 million.

Joining DeFazio at the press conference in support of Build Back Better were representatives of the American Association of Retired Persons, Family Forward Oregon, Environment Oregon and the economic consulting firm ECONorthwest.

ECONorthwest President John Tapogna said between the infrastructure bill and this Build Back Better Plan, 2.4 million new jobs would be created nationally by the middle of the decade. Jobs would be created in infrastructure, childcare, eldercare and affordable housing construction.

Family Forward Oregon Executive Director Andrea Paluso said her organization fights for economic justice for mothers and caregivers.

“Things have been stark across the country and here at home. We work with mothers every day who are telling us about the impossible position they are in because they don’t have access to affordable childcare that meets their family’s needs,” she said.

That crisis has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, she said.

“Since March 2020, millions of women have had to leave the workforce in record numbers,” she said.

Build Back Better would be the largest investment in childcare in the country’s history, she said. It would limit the cost of childcare to no more than 7% of income for most families.

“This will be a huge financial relief for families in Oregon, where the average annual cost of childcare for a toddler now is over $2,000 a year,” she said.

Care work, she said, is the work that makes all other work possible.

“There is no better way to jump-start our economic recovery than by investing in care and the people who provide it,” she said.

AARP Oregon State Director Bandana Shrestha said in addition to Build Back Better’s provision allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, the bill would cap out-of-pocket drug costs for Part D to $2,000 and cap copayments for insulin.

“This is a really critical step in providing real relief for seniors who are living with high drug prices. We here in America pay the highest drug prices in the world and that just makes no sense at all,” she said.

She also said that polls show adults want to remain in their own home as long as possible, and Build Back Better would help them do it.

Environment Oregon Director Celeste Meiffren-Swango said Oregonians and Americans have been solid in their support for clean energy and transportation.

She said Build Back Better would decrease the cost of rooftop solar by 30% and take $12,500 off the cost of an electric vehicle.

It includes funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

And the bill would also reduce methane emissions, which are more than 80 times more potent in climate warming than carbon dioxide, she said.

“These are just a few of the many, many things to be excited about in this bill,” she said.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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(6) comments

Momos

Republicans borrowed the same amount of money to bomb non-threatening countries into rubble and kill thousands of innocent civilians. And then borrowed even more money and gave it to billionaires and "To Big To Fail" corporations. I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but I'll go with the Democrats on this one. It's a much better investment.

Huge bbfan

The only thing more ludicrous than the news story are some of the comments. Welcome to the twilight zone. The Delusion is Real!!

CitizenJoe

Huge bbfan: could you be specific? Do you understand that lead pipes wind up poisoning people? Do you understand that not poisoning people is a good thing, and that healthy people are good for all of us? Do you know that replacing the pipes will cost money? Do you deny any of those as delusional?

I'd pose similar questions to you about bridges.

And mine reclamation in Appalachia.

And so on.

Please be specific in your objections. Otherwise, you are the personification of the old Buckley trope, standing athwart history, yelling "Stop!" History won't stop for you, and if you think it will, then you are...what's the word?...delusional.

CitizenJoe

In other delusions: the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) posted not one but two tweets that barred Elmo, Big Bird, Bert, and Ernie from attending their conference. Now, those characters are fictional, have never been "invited" before, and are "disinvited" for supporting vaccinations.

No word yet on how Mr. Potato Head feels about all this.

Republicans offer nothing but delusions, fear, and anger. And contrails.

mynamehere

A $5 trillion dollar Build Back Better program that won't increase inflation and will cost the American taxpayer $0. Only in a Democrat world is this possible.

CitizenJoe

mynamehere: uh, no. First, I am all in favor of the democratic world. I think you ought to be, as well.

Second, Democrats are not claiming that taxpayers won't be paying more money; people receiving above $400,000 a year in income, tax cheats, billionaires, and wealthy corporations who declare to their shareholders that they made millions, but finagle their ledgers so that they wind up paying zero in taxes or actually getting money from the government – – all those folks can expect to pay more in taxes or to actually become taxpayers. Are you against people and corporations paying their honest, fair share? Do you think that Paris Hilton or that the Walton heirs somehow to sit poolside, having income flow into their accounts, get to write off private jets in a single year, actually deserve to have those things, that they earned them?

Do you want more children to live in poverty? Do you not think that dollars going to poor families, at the expense of billionaires, is not a good thing? If you look at the marginal utility of dollars, the most efficient use of that money is in keeping children out of poverty, healthy, fed, educated, housed, and so on. It's also great that we are investing in the infrastructure that those kids will use as they grow up, and meanwhile employing their moms and dads, earning good money and building solid communities free of lead pipes that poison kids, cripple their intellectual development, and rob them of meaningful futures.

Development of a better grid, and increased use of cheap renewables will decrease electric rates, transportation costs, environmental pollution, and the effects of catastrophic climate change. Only in a Republican world are these things negatives; they are nearly as bad as, say, cannibalism and pedophilia in the basements of pizza parlors. And contrails.

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