Build Back Better is more than just a slogan you hear on the news or some talking point for Washington politicians. Build Back Better is President Biden and congressional Democrats’ bill to deliver real, tangible benefits for families across our state.
A recent Third Way report confirmed the Democrats’ Build Back Better plan could uplift working and middle-class families in North Dakota and all 50 states. Build Back Better makes some of the most crucial – and most expensive – parts of having a family more affordable by lowering the costs of child care and health care. Four critical provisions – the Child Tax Credit, child care cost caps, continued subsidies on the Affordable Care Act, and full Medicaid expansion – would lower the yearly costs for an average family of four in North Dakota by $5,400 and by $12,700 for a single parent.
You may remember the first major piece of legislation that the Biden administration passed — the American Rescue Plan (ARP) — which put additional stimulus money in many Americans’ pockets as well as funding for other critical social and health care programs. As part of ARP, the Biden administration initially expanded the Child Tax Credit to $3,000-$3,600 per child. These changes were especially beneficial for rural Americans, where 49 percent of children qualified their families for increased tax benefits. Under Build Back Better, the larger Child Tax Credit will become permanent. Plus, the credit will be issued monthly rather than making families wait an entire year between benefits. The result? More money in the pocket of North Dakotan parents to help provide for their children.
In addition to codifying the Child Tax Credit, Build Back Better will make child care more accessible and affordable, regardless of where you live or your income. Affordable child care is not only key to children’s educational and emotional development, but it is essential to helping parents return to the workforce. And under Build Back Better, affordable child care will become a reality. The median North Dakotan family earning $106,000 annually will have their child care costs capped at 2 percent of the family income, and families making less could pay as little as zero out-of-pocket costs, resulting in $1,400 in savings. Given that child care has been disproportionately inaccessible in rural America, it is difficult to understate the value these investments will bring North Dakota’s working parents and their children.
Finally, One Country Project polling has shown that when it comes to health care, lowering costs is the most important priority for rural Americans. And the Build Back Better Act includes provisions to answer this concern. As high health care costs continue to put financial and emotional stress on thousands of North Dakotans, Build Back Better will extend subsidies for plans on the health care exchanges as well as ensure access to health care coverage for low-income, Medicaid-eligible populations.
While our GOP lawmakers love to throw big numbers around when discussing Build Back Better and its costs, they never seem to discuss the significant, positive financial impact the bill would have on North Dakota families. At a time when so many have felt the squeeze of economic shutdowns and inflation, Build Back Better would provide investment for continued success in rural communities for decades after the bill is enacted into law.
The numbers are clear – Build Back Better will improve the everyday lives of nearly every parent and North Dakotan in the state. From increasing the Child Tax Credit to addressing child care needs and expanding affordable health care, this historic bill delivers for North Dakota and rural families
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