The following is a statement from Matt Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.Org:
This week, committees in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate will begin marking up the budget reconciliation. Democrats are poised to pass one of the most significant pieces of legislation in decades - and its benefits will be felt throughout the country, particularly rural communities.
The $3.5 trillion package addresses issues that have been ignored for too long: the climate crisis, child poverty, child care, universal pre-K, tuition-free community college, and rural prosperity. Lowering the Medicare eligibility age and expanding benefits to include dental, vision and hearing. immigration, infrastructure, Medicare expansion to include dental, hearing and vision, and finally reining in prescription drug prices will have an outsize impact in rural America.
Every element of the budget reconciliation package impacts the everyday lives and struggles of the American people. It shows a commitment to putting people first. We especially encourage those Senators and House members with large rural populations to deliver for the people they represent who have too often felt ignored and overlooked. This is a momentous opportunity to put them first.
For too long, it felt like too many in Washington, DC, - both elected officials and many pundits - have talked about rural America without actually listening to rural Americans. We are rural and we have listened. When we actually sit down and listen to what rural people are telling us, they want us to focus on three primary things: (1) increasing wages and good paying jobs in their communities, (2) reducing their daily expenses, and (3) protecting and improving their quality of life. That is what this legislation does.
Finally, we believe any Democrat even thinking about cutting the package should explain, in detail, what they want to cut and why those people impacted by those cuts aren’t worthy enough to benefit from the package - and every Democrat should demand that information. We simply can’t accept talking points from any member of the House or Senate who wants to decrease the overall spending for the sake of cuts without letting us know who gets left out. So they need to be clear which of their constituents will bear the brunt - and their colleagues should want to know the same for their constituents.
At RuralOrganizing.org and RuralOrganizing.org Education Fund, we are committed to seeing this through. We have launched a two-year national campaign focused on passing legislation that promotes rural prosperity among traditionally marginalized communities and the budget reconciliation package is a critical component of that work.
“The mission of RuralOrganizing.org is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.”