Special to The Truth
Black leaders praised the President and the lawmakers who worked across the aisle to pass the historic legislation, which will make a real impact in communities across the country, and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21^st century.
See below for what they are saying:
NAACP: “NAACP applauds the passage of the Infrastructure & Jobs Investment Act. Black Americans have borne the brunt of outdated roads and bridges; they have been disproportionately affected by toxic Superfund sites and lead pipes in their communities. Black communities remain the least connected to the internet, exacerbating already-existing disparities in economic, health, and educational achievements. Unemployment rates for Black people have long trailed behind those for other groups. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF), will significantly enhance the quality of life for Black communities across the nation.
“The NAACP now eagerly awaits the approval of the Build Back Better Act, which will have a revolutionary effect on resolving long-standing racial inequities in education, health care, employment, and child care access. Together, these two packages mark a significant milestone for Black communities and families around the country.”
Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League: “Today, Congress prioritized the American people by passing the long-awaited Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with a vote of 228 to 206. We are also pleased to hear the House of Representatives voted on a rule that will allow for the passage of the Build Back Better Act. Our communities have struggled to achieve the American dream of economic prosperity for generations and this bill will restore hope that this dream is still possible.
“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide $1.2 trillion in historic investments in our nation’s core infrastructure and economic commitments to our children, families, and communities to ensure a more equitable economic future for all. Specifically, this bill will:
* Modernize railways, roads, bridges, airports;
* Create hundreds of thousands new high-skilled jobs;
* Address the climate crisis;
* Make high speed internet accessible and affordable for all families;
* Increase transportation options; and
* Invest in opportunities for minority businesses.
“The National Urban League has fought tirelessly to ensure that the priorities of the organization, and that of our constituents, were met in the final version of this bill. Many of which are outlined in our Mainstreet Marshall Plan and Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion. We will also work to ensure that implementation includes jobs and business opportunities for African American businesses.
“While we celebrate this victory for American families, we must still recognize the work that still needs to be done to pass the Build Back Better Act. Yesterday, the National Urban League submitted a vote recommendation to Congress stressing the importance of passing both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act, highlighting that both bills are key components of the Biden Administration’s economic agenda to rebuild the middle class.
“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act is a once in a generation investment in the American people and their futures. We thank the Biden-Harris Administration and Congressional leaders for their continued leadership and their efforts to help this nation recover from the pandemic and years of neglecting our physical and human infrastructure, so that we can build back better and stronger than ever.”
Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston, TX, President, African American Mayors Association: “Friday marked a monumental victory for our entire country. Lawmakers passed a landmark bipartisan infrastructure bill, and the Build Back Better Act will receive a vote soon. There is no question that these bills combined will transform our nation for decades to come.
“The two bills will help make enormous progress toward uplifting communities of color across the nation. The bills provide a huge infusion of funding to fix our crumbling infrastructure and build healthier, more walkable communities — while creating jobs. They also mark our nation’s largest-ever commitment to environmental justice. The plans include desperately-needed investments to combat climate change — like funding to control flooding and modernize our electricity grid to improve access to renewable energy. Importantly, there’s additional funding to remove lead service lines throughout our older cities to eliminate potential water disasters like we saw in Flint and Benton Harbor, Michigan. Furthermore, the bills will help close the digital divide by expanding access to high speed internet so all Americans have an opportunity to compete in the 21st century global economy.
“The bills will improve access to economic prosperity through provisions that strengthen health care, affordable housing, child care, and employment. For example, the package includes four weeks of paid family leave — a revolutionary provision to strengthen families and help working parents maintain their jobs. The package could also create more than one million affordable homes, provide significant funding for youth apprenticeship programs, target new money for programs that serve out-of-school youth in high-crime and high-poverty areas, and fund employment activities for justice-involved young adults who have dropped out of school.
“The list goes on. Together the infrastructure and Build Back Better plans represent a promise fulfilled to communities of color. Now, we need to make sure the latter makes it through the House and the Senate. When that happens, the United States will take a giant leap toward becoming the equitable nation we all deserve.”