WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to advance President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, issuing the following statement after supporting the passage of a resolution to initiate the budget reconciliation process:
“I support immediate action on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. Democrats agree that this bill contains important investments for American safety and competitiveness, and a $1 trillion investment would absolutely be a historic triumph. There’s no reason to hold this bill hostage while we work on what’s been left out, which is why I thank Speaker Pelosi and House Leadership for making sure we vote on the bill before September 27. We need to act swiftly before another dam fails, another bridge collapses or another child is poisoned from contaminated drinking water.
“I support swift, unconditional approval of the bipartisan infrastructure package and agree more needs to be done. I voted to begin the process of building a budget through reconciliation, particularly to address the climate crisis, tackle wildfires and make other critical investments to build back better. I do, though, have reservations about many of the unanswered questions associated with the Senate Budget Committee’s initial $3.5 trillion proposal.”
Specifically, the current framework for budget reconciliation:
- Does not address the near insolvency of social insurance programs vital to Americans in poverty and seniors. We should not add to their financial burdens without a commitment to make them fiscally sound so that our safety net — including health care for seniors — is available to older Americans and to generations who follow.
- Does not include a comprehensive guide to tackle our unsustainable national debt which exploded under President Trump. We are on track to borrow $1 trillion every year – to pay ongoing expenses. Rep. Peters agrees with President Biden and Speaker Pelosi that the reconciliation proposals must be fully paid for. It is also time to commit to a process that ultimately will set us on a fiscally sustainable path, where our economy grows faster than the national debt.
- Does not lower drug costs in a strategic way that preserves America’s groundbreaking innovation efforts. Savings generated from drug pricing reforms must lower out of pocket drug prices for consumers first, especially for lifeline medicines like insulin, before funding other priorities, including additional coverages under Medicare. Drug prices should be lowered at the expense of drug manufacturing industry profits, but not in a way that undermines the viability of American private sector innovation. There is no better evidence of the value of that innovation than the success of COVID-19 vaccines generated from investments by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Rep. Peters will insist on an alternative to international reference pricing proposed in previous bills.
Rep. Peters continued: “The legislative process will raise policy issues that all of us in Congress will have to confront, and these concerns will have to be put to rest before I can offer my full support for the final budget reconciliation package.”