WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently released the below statement following President Biden’s announcement of the framework for Build Back Better.
“To create millions of good-paying jobs, grow our economy, build American competitiveness, and secure our children’s future, we must invest in the human infrastructure of our nation: America’s working families. President Biden’s Build Back Better framework makes a remarkable and transformational investment in America’s working families by lowering costs and strengthening the middle-class.
“The Build Back Better framework is the largest effort in American history to combat the climate crisis, while spurring economic opportunity with innovation and good jobs here at home, better positioning us to compete globally. Agriculture can lead the way in the fight on climate with climate smart agriculture and forestry practices that sequester carbon, reduce emissions and create new and better market opportunities for producers. With significant investments in resources for farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners, this bill provides a host of new tools to deploy important conservation practices and the research essential to inform them. The Forest Service will gain long overdue and significant resources to aggressively manage our forests, reduce fire risks, and keep impacted communities safe.
“Rural America will benefit from meaningful investments to help pave the way in clean and renewable energy infrastructure and production and energy efficiency improvements that will foster new job and market opportunities. The new Rural Partnership Program will provide catalytic investments and much-needed technical assistance to rural and tribal communities and rural-serving organizations that are too often unable to access and leverage the federal resources they need to create opportunity and compete in a globalized world. These investments will put new tools in the toolbox for leveraging the additional funding toward water, housing, and clean energy essential to 21st century infrastructure, diversified rural economies, and prosperous communities. Investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-serving institutions will support underserved communities in modernizing research infrastructure.
“This framework is also transformative for working parents and kids. It will help children reach their full potential by investing in nutrition security year-round, during the school year and the summer months. It also includes funding to further improve the nutritional quality of meals served in school through grants and incentives. With the largest investment in childcare in the nation’s history, universal and free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, and an extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit, families can worry less about the costs of raising a child. With the single largest and most comprehensive investment in affordable housing – including rural housing – in history, and the biggest expansion of affordable health care in a decade, families can focus on improving their health and economic well-being rather than struggling to get by.
“There is no question that President Biden’s Build Back Better framework is for the American people above all else. This is an extraordinary and historic moment for our nation that will transform the lives of millions and millions of Americans and touch every area of our country for decades to come.”