Rush Statement on House Passage of Build Back Better Act (Washington, D.C.) — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy Subcommittee, released the following statement following House passage of the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), transformative legislation that includes many provisions he helped write as a Subcommittee Chair and senior member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. The Build Back Better Act will cut healthcare and child care costs for American families, create jobs, and be the largest investment to combat the climate crisis in American history. The legislation now heads to the Senate.
“My vote this morning for the Build Back Better Act was one of the proudest votes I have ever taken in my nearly three decades in Congress,” said Rush. “There is so much in this legislation that I am excited about — it is hard to even know where to start.”
On the energy and environment provisions he secured in the bill, Rush said:
“As the Chair of the Energy Subcommittee, I was proud to help craft the historic climate provisions in this bill, which represent the largest investments ever made by the U.S. government to fight climate change. I was able to secure $50 million to clean up air pollution near public schools in low-income communities, a public health threat to many schoolchildren in the 1st District and in underserved communities across the nation. I have long used my position as Chair to champion electric vehicles, and I am proud to have authored and successfully secured provisions in this legislation that dedicate $2.8 billion to deploying electric vehicle charging infrastructure in underserved areas.
“I also helped secure $9 billion in funding to replace lead pipes, which comes on top of the $15 billion for lead pipe replacement already signed into law as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This combined funding will replace an estimated 5 million lead service lines — half of the total nationwide. I look forward to this funding being used to replace the unacceptably high number of lead pipes in Chicago and hopefully remove Illinois’s unfortunate status as the state with the most lead service lines.
“I worked hard at every turn to ensure that this legislation would not only tackle the climate crisis in a meaningful and significant way, but that it would ensure that the benefits of a clean energy economy reach every community — especially those that have been historically underinvested in and all too often left behind.”
On the other provisions he fought to include in the Build Back Better Act, Rush said:
“The Build Back Better Act also includes monumental health and child care provisions that I have long fought for. It extends the Child Tax Credit, which has slashed child poverty and directly benefitted 131,000 children in the 1st District, establishes universal pre-K for three- and four-year-olds, caps child care costs at 7 percent of a family’s income, and finally establishes a universal, permanent paid family and medical leave program.
“The Build Back Better Act will for the first time allow Medicare to negotiate prices for costly drugs, including insulin, in order to secure lower healthcare costs for seniors. It will expand ACA subsidies to make health care cheaper and, among other life-changing measures, provide one year of postpartum care under Medicaid, helping to reduce our nation’s appallingly high maternal mortality rate, which Black women suffer at three to four times the rate of white women.
“The Build Back Better Act will also help reduce the scourge of gun violence that has long plagued communities I represent — and that has been on the rise since the pandemic — by investing $5 billion in community-based violence prevention. That includes $2.5 billion for public health approaches to violence prevention, which I proudly helped secure as a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
“I am also thrilled to see in this legislation a combined total of $114 billion for investments in public housing, rental and housing assistance for low-income Americans, and housing vouchers, as well as $15 billion to assist first-time, first-generation homebuyers.
“There is so much to be excited about in the Build Back Better Act — to say that I am excited is truly an understatement. I look forward to getting this transformative legislation enacted into law and making life better, safer, and less costly for families in the 1st District and all across the nation.”
As a senior member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Rush played a leading role in securing $550 billion in total spending to tackle the climate crisis and was critical in securing a number of specific energy-related provisions, including:
- $2.8 billion for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with a focus on constructing charging infrastructure in underserved and disadvantaged communities.
- $50 million to monitor and reduce air pollution near public schools in low-income communities.
- $9 billion to replace lead service lines in drinking water systems across the country. Chicago has more lead service pipes than any city, and Illinois has the most of any state.
- $3 billion for community-led projects to address environmental and public health harms for areas most impacted by climate change and environmental injustice.
- $12 billion for rebates for homeowners to make energy efficiency and electrification improvements to their homes that will reduce energy use and emissions. Of that, nearly $4 billion is reserved for low- or moderate-income households and Tribal communities.
Rush, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, also pushed to help secure more than $13 billion in debt relief for disadvantaged farmers and for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to tailor its programs to support new and existing farmers through outreach, education, and technical assistance. This is offset by $6 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Rush Statement on House Passage of Build Back Better Act