Case, Kahele votes for Biden’s best $ 1.75 trillion bill

WASHINGTON – Hawaii Representative Ed Case finally agreed.

The House on Friday passed a $ 1.75 trillion spending package aimed at strengthening social safety nets for children, tackling climate change and lowering the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries .

Case joined 219 of his fellow Democrats in approving the Build Back Better bill, which is a mainstay of President Joe Biden’s national agenda.

Case had previously expressed doubts about the original invoice amount and wanted to know more about exactly how it would be paid.

Hawaii Rep. Ed Case voted in favor of a lean Build Back Better bill. Cory Lum / Civil Beat

He also didn’t want a final vote on the reconciliation plan until a bipartisan $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill was enacted, which took place earlier in the week. The infrastructure deal alone is expected to bring Hawaii $ 2.8 billion, if not more, to improve the state’s roads, bridges and broadband capacity.

In a lengthy written statement, Case explained his reasoning for ultimately supporting the Build Back Better bill, describing its passage through the House as a “milestone.”

“This vote to advance the Build Back Better Act in the Senate has been one of the largest I will ever take,” Case said. “To get it right, over the past few months I have joined with many colleagues to take the time necessary to fully understand a complicated and often changing 2,100 page invoice, and to make sure it will be of real use. to those who need it most and that it be a responsible and sustainable investment of our country’s financial resources.

“Among many key provisions, the bill makes historic investments in the fight against climate change, giving our keiki a better start in life, helping families in difficulty and reducing healthcare costs, in particular prescription drugs. Just as critically, it does so in a fiscally responsible manner, as the costs of these investments are largely paid rather than borrowed and are distributed responsibly and fairly. “

Case’s stance on Biden’s Build Back Better program has garnered both praise and criticism.

He was one of the few moderate Democrats – many of whom faced tough contests for re-election in Republican-leaning districts – who delayed voting on the spending package until the infrastructure bill pass and that the Congressional Budget Office had the opportunity to review the long-term costs of the $ 1.75 trillion plan.

While her position has been hailed by outside interest groups, such as the conservative American Chamber of Commerce, it has been pilloried by progressives, including those in Hawaii who are affiliated with the Green New Deal Network. , which funded an advertising campaign on the islands targeting Apprehension Case.

He also drew a progressive challenger in Sergio Alcubilla, a political newcomer who has already garnered support from other members of the party’s left flank, including former state senator Gary Hooser and former Democratic Party chairman. from Hawaii Tim Vandeveer.

Representative Kai Kahele has supported Biden’s Build Back Better program from the start. Nick Grube / Civil Beat / 2020

Case was the only member of Hawaii’s four-person congressional delegation to express doubts about the legislation. US Representative Kai Kahele was a strong supporter of the bill, as were American senses Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono.

Kahele released his own statement Friday in which he highlighted a number of provisions that would directly benefit residents of the island, ranging from increased funding for affordable housing to investments in Indigenous language programs for local people. Native Hawaiians on paid family medical leave for new parents and millions of dollars in new money to lift people out of cesspools.

“This legislation is working for Hawai’i,” Kahele said.

“Hawaii is on the front lines of the climate crisis, the affordable housing crisis and the collapsing infrastructure crisis. Our state needs these essential investments, and I applaud the House for passing the Build Back Better Act to make the solid and fair investments our communities need. “

The fate of the legislation is now in the hands of the Senate, where moderate Democrats Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema will play an outsized role in dictating the size and scope of the bill due to the party’s slim majority.

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