PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Congressional Democrats continue to debate how much to spend on President Joe Biden’s human infrastructure bill.
The president’s bill expands and adds a number of programs that Democrats say will directly impact families in western Pennsylvania.READ MORE: Study: Rural Home Sales In Pennsylvania Increased During Pandemic
On March 31, President Biden came to Pittsburgh to lay out his Build Back Better plan.
“Two years ago, I began my campaign here in Pittsburgh, saying I was running to rebuild the backbone of America. Today, I return as your president to lay out the vision of how we do that,” the president said.
That vision included a physical infrastructure bill on roads and bridges and has bipartisan support in Congress.
But his human infrastructure bill focused on things like childcare, student aid, prescription drug prices and new Medicare benefits for seniors. Republicans oppose it, and it has sparked debate among Democrats who must unanimously back the bill for it to pass Congress.
“We tend to focus on the numbers, but these are programs that will help real families,” U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, a Forest Hills Democrat, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Friday.
Doyle said the programs will directly benefit area residents. For example, thousands of local families are getting a monthly child tax credit payment.READ MORE: Doctor Accused Of Hoarding Dead Kittens In Her Freezer
“That benefit is going to expire at the end of the year. And in the Build Back Better plan, we extend that benefit to 2025,” Doyle said.
The bill also helps parents pay for childcare, provides two years of universal Pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, and provides community college students two years tuition-free.
For seniors, the bill expands Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision services. And then, Doyle said, it will lower prescription drug prices for all.
“This bill mandates that we negotiate with the drug companies for prescription drugs for Medicare, and there’s an added benefit to that because that negotiated price will be available for all Americans,” Doyle said.
A brand-new benefit for all Americans, Doyle says, is 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to care for a newborn, a child, a parent or your own medical needs.
“You have paid family and medical leave that pays two-thirds of your income up to a maximum of $4,000 a month,” added the congressman.
These are just some of the many measures included in the $3.5 trillion bill. What gets cut in a compromise to win every Democratic vote is unclear.MORE NEWS: How Leaders From Different Congregations Came Together To Participate In Tree Of Life Remembrance Ceremony
Republicans say this bill is just too expensive, inflationary, and, in some cases, socialistic