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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, on August 3, 2021, during a meeting with Latino community leaders to discuss his economic agenda, immigration reform, and the need the need to protect the right to vote. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, on August 3, 2021, during a meeting with Latino community leaders to discuss his economic agenda, immigration reform, and the need the need to protect the right to vote. Photo: Jim…

President Biden's plan is crucial for Latino Pennsylvanians | OP-ED

Joe Biden has put his plan in place to improve lives across the U.S. Now it’s time for Congress to act on it.

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Every year during Hispanic Heritage Month, I make sure to take the time to reflect on the sacrifices my parents made when they immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. After my father died when I was 12, my mother was left to raise my brothers and sisters and me on her own. It wasn’t easy — and we weren’t alone. 

To this day, millions of Latino families in Pennsylvania and across the country are struggling to get by. They need support from the federal government to help them pay their bills and put food on the table. That’s why I am so proud to have a president who has worked so hard on behalf of the Latino community — putting thousands of dollars in the pockets of Latino families who are struggling to get on their feet. 

At the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, I am especially grateful for all of the work President Biden has done on behalf of the Latino community. His actions are in stark contrast to those of Donald Trump, who built his presidency on vitriol and hate toward the Latino community — from ripping families apart to blocking hurricane aid to Puerto Rico. 

Thanks to President Biden’s swift action, millions of Latino Americans have the support they need to get back on their feet, including thousands of dollars in their pockets from the president’s expanded Child Tax Credit that kicked in this July. That’s money every month in 2021 that parents can use to pay their bills, put food on the table, and buy their kids warm clothes for the winter. 

The numbers speak for themselves: This tax cut has benefitted nearly 4.5 million Latinos in the U.S. and cut the Latino poverty rate by nearly 40%. 

In Pennsylvania alone, these payments help 2.5 million Pennsylvania families with children and are projected to lift 140,000 children out of poverty. And it has been crucial for the 85% of Latina women in America who are either sole or co-breadwinners for their families. This is great news for Latino communities everywhere. 

But until Congress works together to pass the full extent of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, including the comprehensive immigration reform bill he introduced on day one of his presidency, there is more work to do. 

President Biden has introduced an aggressive agenda that will ensure the fundamental things that the Latino community has needed for years: good jobs, lower health care costs, and a great education that begins with universal pre-k. These are the things that can put millions of people on a path to opportunity in this country. 

And the best part is, the president’s plan will be paid for by ensuring that large corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share. It won’t cost working and middle class Latino families a dime — in fact, it will lower their taxes. 

President Biden’s plan will work — but he can’t get it done on his own. It’s time for members of Congress from both parties to put their differences aside and work together on the Build Back Better agenda. This is a bold plan that will provide Latino families in Pennsylvania with the support they need to thrive. It’s time to do right by the nearly one million Latinos who call

Pennsylvania home. That means passing President Biden’s agenda and including a pathway to citizenship for those who come to this country in search of opportunity. 

To me, the meaning of Hispanic Heritage Month is for people across the country to come together to celebrate how far we have come to support Latino families, while recognizing how far we still must go. Since President Biden was sworn in in January, he and Democrats in Congress have taken crucial steps to put more money in the pockets of Latino families. 

The president has put together a real agenda that will address the issues Latino Americans face every day, and will do it without costing middle class families a dime. That’s leadership. I’m proud to have voted for a president who is laser-focused on supporting Latino families. Now, it’s time for Congress to get it done. 

Tom Perez is co-chair of American Bridge 21st Century
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