Chairman Nadler Opening Statement for Markup of Build Back Better Act
Washington, September 13, 2021
Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening statement, as prepared, during a markup of the Committee's portion of the Build Back Better Act:
"Shortly after taking office, President Biden released a plan to 'Build Back Better'—a transformative agenda that makes the investments we need to continue growing our economy and strengthening our communities for many years to come.
"Through the budget reconciliation process, various committees have been tasked with putting this bold plan into action and, today, the Judiciary Committee will make its contribution to this process by considering legislative recommendations that would make historic investments in our people, in our communities, and in U.S. businesses.
"It does this in two key ways: by providing a path to permanent residence and improving the green card process for those who are already making a significant contribution to our country; and by providing additional resources to community violence intervention initiatives at the Department of Justice.
"Together, these investments will help keep our economy strong and our communities safe.
"The immigration provisions in this legislation serve as a vital investment in human infrastructure that reflects our commitment to a stronger U.S. economy and a vibrant future for all Americans. By providing a path to permanent residence for America’s Dreamers, temporary protected status holders, farm workers, and other essential workers who keep our country running, there is no doubt that we will benefit from the resulting economic gains for decades to come.
"Further, by restoring the availability of immigrant visas lost due to COVID-19 or bureaucratic delay and enhancing green card processing, this legislation also constitutes an investment in American families and U.S. businesses.
"These measures will accelerate the ability of family-based immigrants to contribute to their communities and the economy. And critically, U.S. companies will be better positioned to attract and retain highly skilled workers, thus enhancing our competitive advantage and our position as a global leader in innovation.
"The economic gains that will be realized from these provisions are extraordinary. In 10 years, this investment would—at a minimum, and at a relatively small cost to the taxpayers—increase Gross Domestic Product by $1.5 trillion, create more than 400,000 new jobs, boost wages for American workers, and add $149 billion after taxes to the U.S. economy.
"In addition to these crucial provisions, the committee print we are considering today also invests much-needed resources—$2.5 billion—in community violence intervention programs at the Department of Justice. The funds provided under this measure would also support training, technical assistance, research, evaluation, and data collection on the strategies that are most effective at reducing community violence and ensuring public safety.
"Community Violence Intervention—or CVI—programs seek to provide access to alternative responses to violence. These programs apply an evidence-based, localized, and community-informed approach to community violence by identifying and supporting those who are at the highest risk of being victims or perpetrators—or both—and by working to reduce violence through targeted interventions, programs, and strategies.
"Social and economic inequalities are often at the root of community and gun violence. By investing in, and adequately funding, CVI programs, we can improve health, promote opportunity, and save millions in taxpayer dollars.
"One great benefit of CVI strategies is their demonstrated ability to reduce violence through tools other than incarceration. Such programs deploy trusted messengers to work directly with individuals most likely to commit violence, to intervene in conflicts, and to connect people to social and economic services to reduce the likelihood of violence as an answer.
"CVI programs are life-saving investments, but they have remained largely underexposed and underfunded. That is why this measure provides needed resources to support this critical investment in our communities."The legislation we are considering today presents a historic opportunity to invest in our people and in our communities. I commend both Ms. Lofgren, the Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee, and Ms. Jackson Lee, the Chair of the Crime Subcommittee, for their work in helping to craft the important measures contained in this legislation, and I urge all my colleagues to support it."