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Barragán: Build Back Better Act Is Needed Relief for the American People


November 19, 2021

House-passed bill includes Barragán priorities from her legislation on climate and health care

Washington, D.C. – This morning, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán voted to pass President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, legislation that would make historic investments to fight climate change, address environmental justice issues, and lower the everyday child care and health care costs burdening working families in Los Angeles County and across the country.

Several of Barragán’s legislative priorities are included in the House-passed Build Back Better Act. It must be approved by the Senate and signed by President Biden before becoming law.

“The Build Back Better Act will be needed relief for my constituents in Los Angeles County and for people all across the United States,” Congresswoman Barragán said. “The Build Back Better Act would make the largest investments ever in environmental justice, clean energy jobs and the fight against climate change.  These investments are long overdue for environmental justice communities and communities of color hit first and worst by climate change, like those in California’s 44th Congressional District. It would also help millions of families gain access to affordable child care and health care, affordable housing, and expand access to home- and community-based care options for seniors and disabled people.” 

The Build Back Better Act includes unprecedented investments in the following areas Congresswoman Barragán has led on legislatively:

  • Climate Smart Ports: Barragán led the fight for healthy ports through her Climate Smart Ports Act, given the importance of the Port of Los Angeles in her district. The Build Back Better Act includes a $3.5 billion investment in reducing emissions from ports.
  • Climate Justice Grants: Barragán prioritized increasing investments that directly support environmental justice communities fighting the climate crisis through her Climate Justice Grants Act. The Build Back Better Act includes an unprecedented $3 billion investment in Climate and Environmental Justice Grants for community driven projects.
  • Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Electrification: Southern California has been called a “Diesel Death Zone” because of the impact of truck pollution on air quality and public health. Barragán successfully fought for major investments in reducing pollution from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Barragán led the effort to permanently extend CHIP through her CHIPP Act so no child lacks health insurance. The Build Back Better Act includes a permanent extension of CHIP.
  • Maternal Health: Barragán led efforts to improve maternal mental health. The Build Back Better Act includes $75 million to support the workforce in maternal mental health and substance use disorder treatment.
  • Urban Parks: Barragán has been a champion for urban park equity, mostly recently introducing the Parks, Jobs, and Equity Act for a one-time stimulus of urban parks funding for underserved communities. The Build Back Better Act includes a $100 million investment in urban parks.

The Build Back Better Act also includes several critical investments Barragán has been a strong proponent for:

  • A $150 billion investment in Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) to help seniors and persons with disabilities receive care in their homes. Barragán believes HCBS deserves to be fully funded with a $400 billion investment, as proposed by the American Jobs Plan, but this is an important down payment towards that goal.
  • An additional $10 billion to fund replacing lead service lines across the country. There is no safe level of lead in drinking water, yet far too many communities have lead in their pipes – and this investment goes a long way towards addressing a critical environmental justice priority.
  • More than $150 billion in funding to expand access to affordable, accessible housing. This would be the largest investment in affordable housing in our nation’s history and would  help house unhoused individuals, keep others in their homes,  and meet a major need for communities throughout Los Angeles County. Nationally, it would help 294,000 households afford their rent while it would help close the racial wealth gap through the first-ever national investment in homeownership for first-time, first-generation homebuyers.
  • Establishes a universal and permanent paid family and medical leave program, providing four weeks of paid parental, family caregiving, and medical leave. While four weeks is too short, it’s an important first step toward a more robust program.
  • A $5 billion investment to train the next generation of primary health care workforce and connect them to people in the United States with limited access to health care through expanded Graduate Medical Education programs and the National Health Service Corp program.
  • More than $9 billion in investments to support the construction and modernization of community health centers and the purchase or renovation of mobile clinics.

Additionally, the Build Back better Act would lower health care costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug costs for seniors to halt the pharmaceutical industry’s outrageous price hikes above inflation, ensuring Americans with diabetes don’t pay more than $35 per month for their insulin. It would expand the Affordable Care Act to make coverage more affordable for those who buy insurance on their own.

Through a transformative $390 billion investment, Build Back Better would lower child care and family care costs by creating universal pre-school for all 3- and 4-year olds, slash families’ child care costs, extend the landmark Biden Child Tax Credit, and expand access to affordable home care for older adults and those with disabilities.

While it is far from the necessary fix our immigration system requires and a pathway to citizenship that so many have earned, Build Back Better would offer stability to millions of people living and working in the United States. The bill offers a five-year temporary period of stay for undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 2011 – with one 5-year extension available.  This would result in work authorization and protection from deportation for up to 7.1 million people who have been in the United States for more than 10 years. 

While the protection is only temporary, it would nonetheless offer stability to millions of people and greatly benefit the American economy and the communities where they work and live.  Because all DACA holders must have been present in the U.S. since 2007, by definition, this solution covers all of them.  Recent estimates suggest the majority of undocumented essential workers (including farm workers) have been in the U.S. for close to 20 years, meaning they, too, could be eligible.

“The Senate must now do its part on behalf of the American people and pass the Build Back Better Act,” Congresswoman Barragán said.


Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington. She serves as chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Border Security.