SEARAC Responds to President Biden’s Build Back Better Framework

For Immediate Release:
November 2, 2021

Media contact:
Jenna McDavid
Communications and Development Manager
Washington, DC – On Oct. 28, President Biden released his Build Back Better framework. SEARAC welcomes the many initiatives that would improve the lives of Southeast Asian Americans. In particular, SEARAC supports the following education, health, and immigration related proposals:

  • Increased Pell grants and access to financial support for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA);
  • Increased funding for Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) and minority teacher investment;
  • $150 billion for homecare support and assistance to seniors and individuals with disabilities;
  • Reduction of Affordable Care Act healthcare premiums and Medicaid expansion to include hearing; and
  • Pathway to citizenship and recapturing of unused family visas to address backlogs in the family immigration system.

While SEARAC is pleased with the BBB framework, we are disappointed that the framework excludes debt-free two year college; decreases homecare support from the original $400 billion proposal to $150 billion; excludes dental and vision from Medicaid expansion; and does not include lower prescription drug pricing.

“President Biden’s Build Back Better framework is a significant step forward in addressing many of the challenges faced by Southeast Asian Americans,” said Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of SEARAC. “This plan will improve care provided to our elders and their ability to access culturally and linguistically appropriate services, while increasing support for their caregivers. Likewise, the education investments would increase the ability of our students to access higher education while also supporting efforts to diversify our nation’s teachers. As Congress continues to negotiate the text for Build Back Better, we urge our elected officials to include language providing citizenship to as many immigrants as possible while also including language that will decrease the years-long wait many Asian Americans endure while their family members languish in the family visa backlog. We remain committed to working with the White House and Congress to pass a bill that will significantly improve the lives of Southeast Asian Americans.”

The House Rules Committee recently released the text of the bill, and the House is expected to vote on the bill this week. Additionally, the bill is expected to reach the Senate floor by late November.


UPDATE 11/3/2021: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated today that Paid Family and Medical Leave will be included in the Build Back Better framework. Additionally, Speaker Pelosi shared the following yesterday regarding lowering prescription drug costs: “Democrats will deliver strong drug price negotiations to lower prices for our seniors and halt Big Pharma’s outrageous price hikes above inflation, not just for seniors but for all Americans. For seniors, we have also reduced out-of-pocket co-pays and created a new $2,000 out-of-pocket limit for seniors’ expenses in Medicare Part D.”