Environmental, community justice, labor groups urge Congress to finish the job, pass Build Back Better Act

President Biden visits Detroit to tout bipartisan infrastructure bill, urgency to pass Build Back Better for climate, jobs, care, justice

DETROIT, Mich. — As President Biden visits General Motors’ Factory ZERO to tout the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Michigan environmental advocates, labor unions and community justice groups today urged Congress to turn its attention to passing the full Build Back Better Act. The once-in-a-lifetime legislation would expand clean energy projects, boost electric manufacturing, create union jobs, fund paid leave and child care, and take steps to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“Michigan battled unprecedented flooding and power outages this year, and while the bipartisan infrastructure legislation will help provide safe drinking water and repair our crumbling infrastructure, it is not enough to prevent the worst impacts of climate change,” said Bentley Johnson, Federal Government Affairs Director at Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “We urge Michigan’s congressional delegation to act quickly to pass the full Build Back Better Act to build healthy, climate resilient communities across the state and the country.”

President Biden’s electric vehicle assembly plant visit comes after he signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, into law Monday.

“While we applaud members of Michigan’s delegation who helped pass the bipartisan infrastructure package, there is more work to be done,” said Ken Whittaker, Executive Director at the Michigan People's Campaign. “We must seal the deal on critical investments in climate, jobs and justice now to stymie the effects of climate change and grow Michigan’s clean energy economy. We urge Congress to commit to passing the full Build Back Better agenda and go bigger and bolder to provide federal funding that matches the urgency of our climate crisis.”

“The infrastructure bill is a step forward to build a strong, prosperous, and equitable economy. We cannot afford to wait any longer for the full build back better agenda,” said Frank Houston, Michigan Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. “Provisions in the Build Back Better Act can reverse decades of offshoring, fill critical supply chain gaps with products made in America and in Michigan, and ensure that workers and communities in Michigan and across the United States see gains from the coming shift to EVs. The actions that Congress takes now will determine whether we lead in manufacturing and deploying the technologies of the future. We need them to pass the Build Back Better Act now.”

Congress continues to debate President Biden’s agenda in Washington, D.C. and a vote is expected from the U.S. House this week. Now that the bipartisan infrastructure deal has received President Biden’s pen, the groups urge Congress to turn its focus to passing the Build Back Better Act.

“Michigan moms know the climate crisis is here, and we need to act now. The stakes are too high to delay investments in climate solutions. Michigan moms like myself support the Build Back Better Act because we know it’s a historic opportunity to clean up the air and protect our children’s future,” said Elizabeth Hauptman, Michigan State Coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force. “Families here in Michigan and across the country want cleaner cars, buses, and trucks on our roads to reduce air pollution. That’s going to help kids like my son, who has asthma, and it’s going to help solve the climate crisis. And naturally, Michiganders want to build these cleaner vehicles right here at home! The Build Back Better Act is going to spur a new generation of manufacturing jobs, while making electric vehicles more affordable for all. That is real progress for our families’ wallets and health.”

“Michigan’s leadership has already demonstrated its commitment to moving toward a clean energy economy and the Build Back Better Act will advance our state’s lofty goals,” said Tina Catron, MI Climate Team organizer at EDF Action. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a cleaner, brighter future and supply good-paying union jobs, expand electric vehicle manufacturing and bolster clean energy right here in Michigan. Now it is time for Congress to meet the moment and pass bold climate action.”

“While President Biden took a step in the right direction with the infrastructure legislation, it is crucial Michigan policymakers support additional policies to accelerate our state’s transition to a clean transportation future,” said Charles Griffith, Climate and Energy Program Director for the Ecology Center. “The Build Back Better Act's strong electric vehicle tax credits are a boost to consumers and manufacturers, and the zero emission truck incentives will reduce pollution in low-income and communities of color. This legislation is crucial for supporting Michigan’s transition to electric transportation, fighting the climate crisis and improving public health. Combined with critical federal investments in electric vehicle manufacturing and charging infrastructure, state automakers can continue to supply jobs for Michiganders as we lead the country on the path to electrification.”

Published on November 17, 2021