Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Charlie Crist (D-FL-13)
Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) released the following statement after House passage of the historic Build Back Better Act, a $1.75 trillion package to fight inflation, create jobs, cut taxes, and lower the rising costs facing families. The package includes historic investments to lower health insurance premiums, expand coverage, and lower prescription drug costs. It supports stronger families by putting housing you can afford into reach, giving all children access to universal pre-kindergarten, covering seniors’ hearing and home care needs, and making child care affordable for millions of working and middle class families. Finally, the Build Back Better Act is the largest investment in U.S. history to combat the climate crisis, creating hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, lowering gas prices, and securing America’s 21st century energy future.
“Florida’s families have been struggling in the face of a global pandemic and rising costs – we need to be taking action right now to reduce the supply chain bottlenecks and rising gas prices we’re all feeling – and prevent them from happening again. I could not be more proud to say that help is on the way! This historic Build Back Better Act is a once-in-a-generation investment in families, communities, and a stronger middle class,” said Rep. Crist. “For decades, lobbyists and their special interests get what they need, while the middle class and workers don’t get a fair shake. I’ve never forgotten who is my boss: you, the People. That’s who the government should be working for – your families, your paycheck, your children’s schools, and your elderly parents. And that’s what Build Back Better is all about – putting the People back in charge. I’m proud of the victories we’ve championed during my time in Congress, including extending the new Child Tax Credit tax cut, the Sunshine Forever Act solar tax credit extension, so we can run the Sunshine State on our most abundant resource, making flood insurance more affordable, and keeping the IRS out of your checking account. Build Back Better means a stronger and brighter future for all Floridians, and I could not be more proud to cast my vote for this landmark legislation.”
To build stronger families through the Build Back Better package, Congressman Crist fought for:
• Extending the American Rescue Plan’s Child Tax Credit for one year and making refundability permanent, giving 35 million households a tax cut of up to $300 per child per month;
• Universal, high-quality, and free preschool for every three- and four-year-old in America – including more than 365,000 children in Florida – and improved quality of preschool for those who are already enrolled;
• Making child care affordable by capping costs at 7% of income for families earning up to 250% of state median income – lowering the cost of caring for more than one million children in Florida; Florida households making less than $140,000 will qualify;
• Making college more affordable by increasing the maximum Pell Grant award by $550 for more than 370,000 Florida students;
• Improving quality of care for seniors and those with disabilities who need a little extra help around the house by providing $150 billion to clear the home and community care waiting lists.
To combat climate change, the Build Back Better Act invests $555 billion in clean energy and climate initiatives, the largest investment to combat the climate crisis in history, setting the U.S on course to reduce emissions at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels to insulate families from energy price spikes. Congressman Crist was a champion in this effort having successfully secured multiple climate priorities in the Build Back Better package, including:
• Banning new offshore oil and gas leasing in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and along the entire Atlantic coast, permanently protecting Florida from offshore drilling;
• Restoring the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to 30%, making it fully refundable starting in 2023, and extending it through the end of 2031, making it more affordable for Floridians to put solar on their homes. Crist first introduced a ten-year extension of the solar credit through his Sunshine Forever Act.
To improve access to affordable healthcare through the Build Back Better package, Congressman Crist successfully secured:
• Lowering the cost of prescription drugs by capping the cost of insulin at $35 and allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors;
• Cutting healthcare costs and making health insurance more accessible by building on the Affordable Care Act and American Rescue Plan, lowering premiums for all and putting affordable coverage in reach for an additional 3 million Americans;
• Providing health coverage for 415,000 working Floridians who fall into in the Medicaid gap due to Governor DeSantis’ failure to expand Medicaid;
• Lowering the costs of hearing aids and other devices for seniors by expanding Medicare to include hearing care.
To protect Americans hard-earned tax dollars, the Build Back Better Act will not only be fully paid for, but also will not raise a single dollar in taxes on Americans making less than $400,000 per year and is lauded by the Treasury Department as reducing the deficit. In this vein, Congressman Crist also successfully kept the IRS out of Floridians’ checking accounts after being the first Democrat to publicly oppose the IRS reporting proposal.
Finally, to put Florida First in Build Back Better, Congressman Crist successfully championed:
• $600 million for FEMA to set up a affordability program so that National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) premiums will be more affordable for households that make up to 120% of area median income;
• $748 million to repair and modernize NASA facilities, including Florida’s own Kennedy Space Center. As a member of both the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA; and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee that sets NASA policy; Crist has been a staunch supporter of NASA and Florida’s aerospace industry.
The Build Back Better Act now moves to the Senate for consideration.