Washington, D.C. â€” On Wednesday, December 15th, advocates from organizations representing young people across the country rallied at the steps of the Capitol to demand that Senators pass the Build Back Better Act as it stands. This bill is both a compromise and a winâ€”it will have the most far-reaching impact on America’s children and young people of any legislation passed in recent decades. It will tackle multiple compounding crises that the American people face, many of which disproportionately impact Americaâ€™s youth, including climate change, the gun violence epidemic, childhood poverty, and much more. As Congress debates our lives and our future, young people will not be left on the sidelines and will make our voices heard.Â
The call from young people across the country is simple: stop playing political games with our lives. As Senators gamble with these badly needed solutions, young people feel the brunt of compounding crises. This bill has the potential to reshape our generation and finally offer us relief.
The Build Back Better Act makes significant investments in combating the climate crisis, gun violence prevention, and strengthening the countryâ€™s social safety net that will specifically benefit young people. These include $555 billion in climate investments, $5 billion in community violence intervention, and universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds. The bill would also extend the enhanced child tax credit (CTC), which was increased earlier this year to $3,000 per child 6 to 17 and $3,600 per child under 6â€”significantly cutting childhood poverty.Â
If the Senate doesnâ€™t pass this bill, millions of children and families would slide backwards just as theyâ€™ve started to get ahead. As we begin to feel the impact of an escalating climate crises, the Senate would doom our children to suffering through the worst of it in the coming decades, an entirely avoidable scenario.Â
â€œThis bill is a hard-won victory for advocates and activists, many of them young people, who have been organizing, voting, and speaking out to demand large-scale solutions to the equally large-scale problems that our generations face,â€ said Edwith Theogene, Director of Advocacy for Generation Progress. â€œWe need the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act now to protect our generationsâ€™ futures and begin to build a more equitable society for our families and communities.â€
â€œTo be very clear, the cost of inaction isnâ€™t nothing. It will condemn an entire generation to the ravages of the gun violence epidemic, climate crisis, and so much more,â€ said Isabella Dâ€™Alacio, a student at George Mason University and a Policy Associate with March For Our Lives. â€œWe cannot wait. This bill is a crossroads. It tangibly addresses the root causes of violence and inequity, and measurably brings them down. Will we do nothing at the height of this crisis? Or will we face this crisis head-on to offer Americans support and relief? Now is not the time to kick the can down the road. Pass the bill now.â€Â
â€œThis is the compromise bill. If we want to raise the standard of living for all Americans, confront climate change, and confront the horror of gun violence, this is the floor,â€ said Alexis Confer, Executive Director of March For Our Lives. â€œWe canâ€™t settle for anything less. Pass the bill now.â€Â
Young people turned out in record numbers last year to elect people that would represent us and provide relief. Itâ€™s time for the Senate to deliver for us. Ahead of a critical midterm election, it is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. Young people are our nationâ€™s future, and we are watching closely to see whether this Senate will offer us what is so desperately needed.Â
Pass the bill. Americaâ€™s youth cannot wait any longer.Â
About Generation Progress
Generation Progress is a national advocacy and education organization housed within the Center for American Progress that promotes progressive solutions to the political and social issues that matter to young people between the ages of 18 and 35. We strive to uplift the voices and leadership of young people across the country to ensure that their perspectives and needs are represented in policy-making spaces at all levels of government.Â
About March For Our Lives
March For Our Lives is a national youth-led movement to end gun violence in America. Its mission is to harness the power of young people across the country to fight for sensible gun violence prevention policies that save lives. Since March 2018, students from all across the United States have called for common-sense reforms that will save the lives of more than 3,000 young people each year, including: implementing universal, comprehensive background checks; creating a searchable database for gun owners; investing in violence intervention programs, specifically in disenfranchised communities; funding the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence so that reform policies are backed up by data; and banning high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic assault rifles. Concurrently, March For Our Lives has established nearly 300 youth-led chapters across the country, continuously growing this chapter network to give young people a local forum to exercise their activism. For more information, visit www.marchforourlives.com.
About NextGen America
NextGen America is the largest national organization for engaging young people through voter education, registration and mobilization. We invite 18-to-35 year olds â€” the largest and most diverse generation in American history â€” into our democracy to ensure our government works for them and to find new solutions to the dire challenges facing our society and the world. Since 2013, NextGen America has registered more than 1.4 million young voters and educated millions more.