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President Biden's Build Back Better plan can help Arizona -- will it pass?

Posted at 6:32 PM, Oct 28, 2021

PHOENIX — President Joe Biden outlined a scaled down Build Back Better plan Thursday, with the $1.75 trillion social and climate spending package being called historic even though it remains unclear whether there are enough votes in Congress to pass it.

There are some winners and losers; that’s what happens when you trim a bill originally priced at $6 trillion and cut it down to just under $2 trillion.

In Arizona, some of the biggest winners will be the more than 188,000 children, 3- and 4-year-olds, who will be able to attend universal pre-K.

“We know that when you invest $1 in our students at that age there is a $7 return on your investment. So that’s huge,” says teacher Katie Nash.

Nash is also the mother of two school-aged children and the extension of the child tax credit for another year is really important to her.

“Because of the child tax credit, I was able to get glasses for both my daughters. One of my daughters is able to get some mental health support this way. Seeing it extended through 2022 is going to be life-changing for many of our families,” Nash said.

Fighting the effects of climate change is also a key component of the plan; $550 billion will be dedicated to clean energy and climate change.

“That’s a lot of money,” says Progress Now Arizona Director Emily Kirkland. “Here in Arizona, that could mean tons of clean energy jobs and it could mean preventing some of the worst impacts of extreme heat and wildfires and droughts.”

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who has been involved in the negotiations, signaled her support, saying, “We have made significant progress on the proposed budget reconciliation package. I look forward to getting this done, expanding economic opportunities and helping everyday families get ahead.”

"This framework will address a number of Arizona priorities, from creating more renewable energy jobs and cutting taxes for middle class families, to lowering costs for health care and child care," said Senator Mark Kelly.

Mayor Cathy Carlat of Peoria and Mayor John Giles of Mesa, both Republicans, endorsed the plan.

But not everyone is getting what they want.

Paid family leave, investments in higher education, and larger reductions in the cost of prescription drugs may have to wait for another day. And of course Congress still has to vote on it.