December Update from SOAR Director Julie Stein

Everyone Will Benefit from Infrastructure and Social Safety Net Bills

On Monday, November 15, President Biden signed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law, making massive investments in transportation, broadband, road and bridge construction, and more.

For months, this bill has been moving through Congress in tandem with the President’s social safety net bill – the Build Back Better Act – which the U.S. House passed on November 19 and is now awaiting action by the Senate.

Together, these bills seek to address a variety of economic and social issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The prior is the most significant effort in nearly 70 years to update our nation’s physical infrastructure, and it will reshape our economy to be competitive for the next several generations.

Upon President Biden’s signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, USW International President Tom Conway said, “Our elected leaders have long promised this kind of transformational infrastructure investment but ultimately failed to deliver. Now, thanks to President Biden’s vision and leadership, Congress has finally come together and passed bipartisan legislation that will directly benefit American workers and ensure a brighter future for generations to come.”

The latter – the Build Back Better Act – is expected to be taken up by the Senate in December.

In addition to the millions of good-paying jobs that the President’s infrastructure plan will create,

this legislation includes popular ideas that will benefit working families, like universal pre-k for 3- to 5-year-olds, paid family medical leave, and tax breaks for the overwhelming majority of workers.

Additionally, the House-passed Build Back Better Act (BBBA) includes a historic expansion of Medicare to include coverage for hearing aids and other auditory care for the first time. It places a cap ($2000) on Medicare Part D out-of-pocket costs for seniors and caps the price of insulin at $35 per month.

The BBBA also establishes a Medicare drug negotiation program which is a monumental leap for retirees. According to the Congressional Budget Office, drug negotiations will save Medicare $262 billion.

The Senate will likely amend the bill and then send it back to the House before it becomes law.

The Alliance for Retired Americans applauds the House passage of the Build Back Better bill that will significantly improve the lives of older Americans,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Seniors appreciate that the bill takes steps to lower prescription drug prices for retirees and all Americans. Now that the House has voted, it’s time for the Senate to deliver for the American people without delay.”

Although the holiday season is upon us, kindly take a moment from your busy holiday schedule to contact your Senators today! Wishing you all happy, healthy and safe holidays!

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