To the editor:
(re: “Bowman finds vindication, but it’s bittersweet,” Dec. 23)
I am writing in support of Congressman Jamaal Bowman’s insistence the Build Back Better bill and the hard infrastructure bill be voted on in Congress together rather than separately.
That position — that two bills must be voted on together — was both pragmatic and principled. Pragmatic because without linking the votes, conservative Senate Democrat Joe Manchin from West Virginia had no incentive to vote for the Build Back Better bill.
Actually, let me rephrase that. West Virginians supported the Build Back Better Act by a margin of 43 percent. Joe Manchin was catering to dark money, special interests, and big donors when he announced his 11th hour decision not to support Build Back Better. Manchin’s betrayal of the people of his own state came as no surprise to Congressman Bowman, and revealed the wisdom of the original plan to link the vote on the two bills as leverage in passing the Build Back Better Act.
Congressman Bowman did not oppose the infrastructure bill. He has been fighting for both the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act for the benefit of the people of his district.
In addition to being politically pragmatic, Congressman Bowman’s vigorous advocacy for passage of Build Back Better was principled because of promises he has made to the residents of his congressional district — promises he has already begun to fulfill abundantly in his brief time in office.
He has brought Vice President Kamala Harris to his district to advocate for Build Back better. Education secretary Miguel Cardona to discuss education during the pandemic. Deputy Treasury secretary Wally Adeyamo to discuss child tax credits in Yonkers.
He has worked with President Biden and local government to bring four COVID-19 vaccination sites to the district, and secured $152 million in COVID-19 recovery funds for his district.
He has worked with Gov. Kathy Hochul to announce $6 million in funding to prevent community violence, and is the national leader on this issue. He was integral in bringing transportation investments to New Rochelle and the East Bronx. He worked with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to expand train service to four new locations, including Co-op City.
He fought to lift the state and local tax deduction cap to $80,000 for homeowners. He delivered $185.1 million in child tax credits tax cuts for more than 84,000 families in the district. He ensured $56 million in restaurant grants for small businesses locally.
And among other legislation, Congressman Bowman has introduced the Green New Deal for Public Schools Act, which re-imagines public education, and receives an 80 percent approval rating in his district.
Unlike Sen. Manchin and too many like him in Congress, U.S. Rep. Bowman has pledged to never take corporate political action committee or lobbyist money. He represents and advocates for his district with vigor, wisdom and courage.
Keep it up, Mr. Bowman.