Why Pittsburgh Rep. Mike Doyle says Build Back Better must pass | Infrastructure | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Why Pittsburgh Rep. Mike Doyle says Build Back Better must pass

click to enlarge Why Pittsburgh Rep. Mike Doyle says Build Back Better must pass (2)
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
Mike Doyle
After months of debating, many lawmakers were relieved when the U.S. House passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill on Nov. 5. However, the next few weeks could be challenging for Democrats if they wish to pass the rest of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda. The task is rallying some long-time politicians, including Pittsburgh’s Congressman U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Forest Hills).

Congress aims to vote soon on Biden’s Build Back Better act, a $1.75 trillion plan that focuses on improving care for families, handling the climate crisis, better access to health care, and lowering costs for the middle class and tax reforms.

While some representatives object to this plan, Doyle has pushed Congress to approve the bill,and has been extremely vocal recently on his social media, encouraging other members of congress to support the BBB’s passage.

When City Paper asked why he is pushing for the bill, Doyle said most of America’s wealth has gone to the richest 1% of earners for the past 40 years, while everyone else’s household expenses have increased. So he says the bill would help most Americans who are still struggling, and not just those at the very top.

“The Build ­Back Better act is designed to provide much-needed help to Americans,” Doyle said in an interview with CP. “It helps working households with children, it's helping elderly and disabled people to be able to continue to live in their homes rather than in institutions, we're lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and we're getting 13 million more Americans with health insurance.”

In one of his recent Twitter posts, Doyle said people still need more reliable, renewable electricity, and the bill intends to provide access to renewable energy and make access to the internet more affordable. Doyle told CP that some areas in the Pittsburgh region struggle to get internet, and the bill will help low-­income families who can't afford internet access.
Additionally, if the Build Back Better act is approved, Pittsburghers could receive money through the child tax credit and provide hundreds of families with access to better health care, says Doyle.

“When you talk about lowering out-­of-pocket costs for Obamacare, that's a big deal for people, that's putting more money in the pockets of the middle class and the working class and the poor, the people who really have seen their wages be stagnant over these last couple of decades,” he says. “So every one of these programs, as you go right down the line, has a direct benefit to many many Pittsburghers that live in my district.”

Doyle adds that some of his favorite items in the bill are expanding the Obamacare premium tax credits and the $555 billion that is aimed towards clean energy tax credits and climate funding with net-zero carbon by 2050.

While Doyle is confident about the Better Back Better act, there are various lawmakers in Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, who disagree with the bill. Some lawmakers have shared worries the bill could have a severe impact on the budget deficit (though many of those Republican skeptics had no issue passing tax cuts in 2017 that increased the budget deficit).

The vote on the BBB bill was postponed to later this month after some lawmakers demanded to see analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. Doyle told CP the bill is already paid for, and will bring revenue into the treasury according to Joint Committee on Taxation, and those opposed to the bill are using concerns about spending purely as a political move.

“We're waiting on a CBO score, which is why we haven't voted on the bill yet; some of our members want to see a CBO score before they vote for it. I believe when that CBO score comes down, it's also going to show that the bill is paid for,” says Doyle. “I don't know how anybody can argue that. These are all programs and policies that are tremendously popular with the American people, regardless of whether their Democrats, Republicans, or independent.”

Earlier proposed as a $3.5 trillion plan to span ten years, negotiations between Congressional members, namely U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), have resulted in decreasing the total the price tag to a $1.75 trillion.

Congress is set to vote on BBB by Nov. 15. For the bill to pass the Senate, all 50 members of the Democratic caucus will have to support it. Doyle told CP he believes the bill will pass the House.

While Doyle has pushed for Biden’s Better Back Build Better act, he will not run for re-election in 2023 and will retire, ending his 25 years of service to the city of Pittsburgh and surrounding areas in Congress. In a press release in October, Doyle said the pandemic has quickened his retirement plans and believes it is time for a new person to take his role in congress. With 14 months on his term, Doyle hopes to see the Build Back Better approved when his term is done.

“It's going to have benefit a lot of people,” he says.

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By Mars Johnson