October 22, 2021

New Democrat Coalition Weekly Wrap 10/22/2021

This week, NDC Chair Suzan DelBene visited the White House on Tuesday to meet with President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Secretary Yellen to continue conversations about the NDC’s top priorities in the Build Back Better Act. Chair DelBene noted the importance of doing a few things better, for longer, to deliver immediate, lasting results for the American people.

New Democrat Coalition (NDC) Members also continued work on Build Back Better economic agenda, including the reconciliation and infrastructure bills. New Dems also met with Speaker Pelosi to discuss their priorities for budget reconciliation and the path forward on the Build Back Better economic agenda. The Coalition’s members reiterated to the Speaker the need for a final reconciliation bill that does a few things better and for longer, including expanding the popular child tax credit, investing in jobs and economic development in persistently-distressed communities, combats climate change, and expanding the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid to achieve the promise of better access for all Americans. 

New Dems remain committed to advancing the President’s Build Back Better economic agenda by leveraging this historic opportunity to get the Build Back Better Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act across the finish line. 

More on what New Dems have been up to below.?

Featured Video

DelBene on CNN: “It's really about what we can do that has an immediate impact for families, for workers, for communities.”

WW 10/22

NDC Chair Suzan DelBene appeared on CNN to talk about the policy priorities that New Dems have been focused on in the reconciliation process, and how it’s important that we focus on programs that will have an immediate impact for Americans.

Coalition Highlights 

NDC Chair Statement Following Meeting with President Biden on Build Back Better Act

  • This week, NDC Chair Suzan DelBene (WA-01) met with President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Treasury Secretary Yellen at the White House to continue discussions on the path forward for the Build Back Better Act. The NDC continues to push for our approach in reconciliation of doing a few things better, for longer.
  • Chair DelBene’s statement following the meeting reads in part: “Our meeting with President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Secretary Yellen was very productive, and we are appreciative of the President’s efforts as we work together to deliver immediate, impactful, and tangible results for the American people. New Dem Members ran on growing the economy, creating jobs and opportunities, and empowering middle-class workers and families, and we will continue to advocate for our core priorities to be included in the final bill. Our constituents elected President Biden and put the gavel in Democrats’ hands, and we are committed to showing that good governance works.”

New Democrat Coalition Chair Statement on Child Tax Credit

  • The NDC, led by Chair Suzan DelBene (WA-01), has fought for an extension of the enhanced Child Tax Credit since the start of the reconciliation process. 
  • To emphasize how critical it is that the Build Back Better Act includes an extension of this vital program, Chair DelBene released a statement that reads in part: “The New Democrat Coalition has been clear from the start of the reconciliation process that the Build Back Better Act must extend this vital, middle-class tax cut through at least 2025 and keep full refundability to grow our economy and give families the financial security and long-term certainty they need. Scaling back or limiting the accessibility of this critical pillar of President Biden’s agenda would hurt middle-class families and our children’s futures.”

Member Bill Action

House Passes Kilmer’s Bipartisan Legislation to Help Communities Address Ongoing Opioid Crisis

  • The House passed Rep. Kilmer (WA-06)’s bipartisan legislation, the Drug-Free Communities Pandemic Relief Act, which provides flexibility for community programs focused on the prevention of drug abuse and misuse. The legislation helps Drug-Free Communities coalitions during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure they can continue to serve local communities. 

President Biden Signs Connolly’s 9/11 National Memorial Trail Legislation

  • President Biden signed Rep. Connolly (VA-11) and Rep. Beyer’s (VA-08) legislation to designate the “September 11th National Memorial Trail” into law . This bipartisan legislation previously passed the House and Senate by unanimous consent and designates the trail between the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York City, the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, Pennsylvania as the “September 11th National Memorial Trail.” 

Kind’s Bipartisan Legislation to Honor our Nation’s Veterans Passes House

  • The Free Veterans from Fees Act from Rep. Ron Kind (WI-03) passed the House of Representatives this week. This legislation would waive application fees for special use permits for veterans’ demonstrations and special events at war memorials on federal land, alleviating veterans from burdensome costs and paperwork. 

Member New Legislation

Wild Leads Bipartisan Legislation to Lower the Costs of Prescription Drugs for Children

  • Rep. Susan Wild (PA-07) introduced the bipartisan Fair Drug Prices for Kids Act to lower prescription drug costs for children and hard-working families. This legislation would give states the ability to purchase medication at the lowest price offered by drug manufacturers, lowering the costs of those medications for millions of children, as well as saving state and federal dollars.

Axne and Demings Introduce Legislation to Fix Social Security Hotline

  • In response to constituent concerns, Reps. Cindy Axne (IA-03) and Val Demings (FL-10) introduced the Meeting Our Seniors’ Social Security Needs Act to ensure that older and disabled citizens can get answers from the Social Security Administration (SSA). This legislation requires the SSA to ensure adequate staff are assigned to answer phone calls to their offices and prevent constituents from facing long wait times or automated responses. 

Trahan Introduces Legislation to Increase Transparency and Accessibility around Higher Education Costs

  • Rep. Lori Trahan (MA-03) introduced the bipartisan Net Price Calculator Improvement Act to make improvements to existing law by increasing transparency and the accessibility of information about the cost of college for students and their families. The bill would make Net Price Calculator tools more consistent and easier to find, and it would require tuition, room, and board, and other costs to be listed prominently on higher education institutions’ websites.

Spanberger Introduces Bicameral Legislation Barring U.S. Arms Sales to Human Rights Violators

  • Rep. Spanberger (VA-07) introduced the Safeguarding Human Rights in Arms Exports (SAFEGUARD) Act, which would strengthen Congress’ role in the review of proposed arms sales and exports to ensure that the United States is not contributing to these human rights violations. 

Demings Introduces Bipartisan Anti-Terrorism Legislation

  • This week Rep. Val Demings (FL-10) introduced the Homeland Security Capabilities Preservation Act. This bipartisan legislation would direct the Department of Homeland Security to review past disbursements under the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), then to create a plan to continue federal anti-terrorism support for UASI-funded homeland security capabilities that keep people safe in these communities.

Strickland Introduces Legislation to End Veteran Homelessness

  • Rep. Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) introduced the Housing Opportunities to Mitigate Expenses for Services (HOMES) for our Veterans Act. This legislation will reduce barriers and make it easier for organizations who provide homes and services to veterans experiencing homelessness to access federal capital grants. 

Member Action

Fletcher Leads Call to Keep Medicaid Expansion Incentives in Place

  • Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) led 23 colleagues in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to keep Medicaid expansion incentives in the Build Back Better Act. 
  • The letter reads in part: “As Members from 12 states that have yet to expand Medicaid, we write with great concern regarding reports in the press that the expansion incentives passed as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) may be repealed.  This is especially troubling in light of other reports that the policy proposal to address the coverage gap in the Build Back Better Act may be temporary.  We strongly oppose efforts to repeal these expansion incentives, particularly if a permanent coverage gap policy is not put in place.”