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ICYMI: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo Pens Op-Ed in the Houston Chronicle: 'Biden's Build Back Better Agenda seems written for the people of Harris County'

October 04, 2021

Today, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, leader of the most populous county in Texas, published an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, writing that "President Biden's [Build Back Better] plan represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance to cement our path towards a future where our community can live healthier, safer and more prosperous lives and begin to tackle the deep inequities that have sown so much division."

Judge Hidalgo also nods to the need to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill as well, writing that "the package of the infrastructure and budget reconciliation bills represents a meaningful and vital down payment toward rebuilding, modernizing and strengthening the physical and social foundation of American society."

Read the full op-ed below:

Houston Chronicle: Opinion: Lina Hidalgo: Biden's Build Back Better Agenda seems written for the people of Harris County
[Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, 10/4/21]

If Harris County residents met to draw up a list of initiatives that would best serve folks in our communities and provide economic relief, it would look a whole lot like President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Agenda, now pending before Congress.

The agenda focuses on infrastructure writ large: Basic, hard infrastructure like more flood control and coastal protection, and work to fix antiquated roads, highways, bridges, and transit. It looks to the infrastructure of the future: Better access to broadband, clean energy, environmental clean-up. And human infrastructure: An expansion of affordable housing. Free, universal and high-quality pre-K. Two years of free community college. Lower prescription drug costs and more affordable care for elder Americans.

That's all to say, the package of the infrastructure and budget reconciliation bills represents a meaningful and vital down payment toward rebuilding, modernizing and strengthening the physical and social foundation of American society.

Here in Harris County, we're already putting our skin in the game. We're making immense investments in flood control and speeding those projects along. We've allocated a historic amount of resources for environmental monitoring and enforcement. We have worked to reduce the massive criminal court backlog and put in place smart-and-tough-on-crime initiatives, such as the Holistic Assistance Response Team and the Gun Violence Interrupter program, designed to enhance public safety and rebuild faith in our broken criminal justice system. Like the Biden administration, Harris County is finally addressing decades of underinvestment in areas like public health, small businesses and homelessness. But we need Congress to do its part.

World-class transportation infrastructure, universal pre-K and adequate access to health care do not just happen through magical thinking. Obviously, they must be paid for. And these are big initiatives with a big price tag. These challenges require investments beyond those any one community can make alone.

The good news is that the proposals pending before Congress are a smart strategy to meet the price tag: by asking corporations and the wealthiest Americans to do their part by paying their share of taxes. Last year alone, 55 of the largest corporations in America paid zero dollars in federal taxes on more than $40 billion in profit. The investments to support the Build Back Better priorities will not only make our county and nation stronger and more competitive, they will also create jobs, raise wages and lift up the standard of living for everyone.

President Biden's plan represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance to cement our path towards a future where our community can live healthier, safer and more prosperous lives and begin to tackle the deep inequities that have sown so much division. The time for Congress to act is now. The president's Build Back Better Agenda has my full support, and I urge our delegation to support this legislation and get it on President Biden's desk.

Lina Hidalgo is the head of Harris County's governing body.

Joseph R. Biden, ICYMI: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo Pens Op-Ed in the Houston Chronicle: 'Biden's Build Back Better Agenda seems written for the people of Harris County' Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/352822

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