As 2018 Majority Makers, We Know Build Back Better is a Winning Agenda | Opinion

We are all majority makers from the class of 2018. We were elected to Congress in swing districts all across the country, not only to serve as a check on an unpopular Republican president, but to follow through on our promise to fight for the millions of middle class families who cast their ballots in our favor. We ran and won twice in some of the most competitive districts in the country. And along the way, we made promises to our voters: to fight to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs, expand access to early childhood and post-secondary education, fix the roads and address the urgent threat of climate change as we enacted policies designed to benefit hardworking families.

We may not be the members who appear on your television every evening. But we are the serious, dedicated lawmakers who earned the Democratic majority. We fight every day to deliver for our voters. And we're committed to getting both the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act across the finish line.

In 2009, Democrats controlled both Congress and the White House for the first time in nearly two decades, allowing for the single largest expansion in access to health care in generations and aversion of widespread financial collapse by passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Yet Democrats failed to resolve many of the other urgent priorities they had pledged to address—from climate change and affordable housing to expanded child care and rural economic development. These were not failures of imagination—but of political courage. And their failure to act resulted in one of the most lopsided midterm elections in American history, in which Democrats lost more than 60 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate.

Today, we face the same obstacles that our colleagues failed to overcome in the 111th Congress. And the infighting we're witnessing threatens a similar fate for our majority—while preventing us from enacting the progress we promised our voters.

Dome of the U.S. Capitol
The dome of the U.S. Capitol. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

We understand what's at stake in the 117th Congress. We recognize the remarkable opportunities afforded to us by this moment in history. And we have all heard the parallels to 2010. But there is one significant difference between 2009 and 2021—we will not break our promises to our voters.

We support both the bipartisan infrastructure framework and President Joe Biden's Build Back Better agenda because it's exactly what we promised voters we would accomplish when we were sent to Congress just a few short years ago. Our infrastructure package will help to rebuild crumbling roads and bridges, invest in desperately needed water infrastructure, kickstart our economic growth and help us transition to a clean energy economy—while creating millions of good-paying jobs. And the Build Back Better agenda, once finalized, will represent a transformative effort to lower out-of-pocket health care and prescription drug costs, deliver tuition-free enrollment at community colleges and trade schools, ensure low-cost child and home health care and tackle climate change—while reforming our tax code to ensure that billionaires and giant corporations pay their fair share for the first time in generations.

Back home, our constituents aren't concerned with arbitrary deadlines or late-night negotiations. What matters in the end is that we deliver on the promises we made to them. We must focus on the substance of this legislation, rather than threatening to withhold our support over questions of process, timing and trust. The combined impact of these bills will have a tremendous impact on all of our communities—and that should be the driving force behind our efforts this week.

Three years ago, we were all elected to Congress because of our promise to enact change in Washington. Last year, we were all re-elected by the slimmest of margins—6 percentage points or less. We may represent swing districts, but we are firm in our conviction that the passage of both of these bills is what's best for our constituents. We're not afraid. We're ready to get this done.

Representatives Angie Craig (D-Minn.), Colin Allred (D-Texas), Susie Lee (D-Nev.), Kim Schrier (D-Wash.), Susan Wild (D-Pa.) and Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) are members of Congress.

The views expressed in this article are the writers' own.