Blog Posts > The Cost of Inaction is Too High: Senator Manchin Must Support Robust Budget Reconciliation Package That Centers West Virginians’ Needs
September 30, 2021

The Cost of Inaction is Too High: Senator Manchin Must Support Robust Budget Reconciliation Package That Centers West Virginians’ Needs

For Immediate Release: September 30, 2021
Contact: Renee Alves, 559-916-5939

Charleston, WV – Kelly Allen, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, released the following statement in response to Senator Manchin’s recent comments on the Build Back Better Act currently being negotiated in Washington:

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy strongly urges Senator Manchin to recognize the urgency of our state’s needs and move quickly to support workers and families in West Virginia.

In a statement released earlier this week, Senator Manchin suggested that the need is neither urgent nor great as we are not “in a recession” and while “millions of jobs remain open.” Senator Manchin also says he doesn’t believe we need to fundamentally reshape the “social and economic fabric of this nation.”

We find those sentiments difficult to reconcile with the reality on the ground in our state. West Virginia families and workers – particularly low- and middle-income families, rural residents, and West Virginians of color – face an uneven economic recovery on top of decades of low wages, child care deserts, lack of benefits like paid leave, and high levels of childhood poverty.

While we agree that Congress must pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, we know our needs extend beyond investments in our roads and bridges. That’s why we believe Congress must pass both the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and the Build Back Better Act.

The Build Back Better plan will give workers and children a fair shot at opportunity, making it easier for West Virginians to afford health care, child care, and housing – all of which will make it easier for working people to obtain and keep a job. It will dramatically reduce our globally embarrassing high rates of child poverty. And it would create jobs and boost our economy while making it easier for West Virginia’s small businesses to compete on the national and international marketplace.

These investments will not cost a cent for West Virginia families with low- and middle-incomes. The bill can and should be paid for by closing tax loopholes that benefit billionaires and corporations and by rolling back the lopsided and fiscally reckless tax cuts for the wealthy enacted in 2017 – a priority we are pleased to see Senator Manchin says he supports.

The urgent moment is now. To truly meet the needs of West Virginians, we are calling on Senator Manchin to help bring together a targeted, responsible reconciliation package that will:

  • Retain the full Child Tax Credit for all children, including those in the lowest-income families, which will drive a massive reduction in child poverty.
  • Ensure that children whose families need help paying for child care receive that help, that child care quality improves and workers are paid adequate wages, and that robust child care assistance reaches children in all states.
  • Include a robust paid family and medical leave policy to ensure that no one has to choose between their job and their health or the health of a loved one.
  • Ensure that West Virginia and Appalachia receive their fair share of investments in clean energy and climate that create good-paying jobs of the future.
  • Ensure that billionaires like Jeff Bezos and big corporations pay federal income taxes, just like West Virginia families do, and close the tax gap by ensuring that the IRS has the resources and information it needs to pursue tax cheats. 
  • Include robust investment in housing vouchers that will put affordable, stable housing within reach for millions of Americans with low incomes and go a long way toward ending homelessness.

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