Pete Aguilar

Rep. Pete Aguilar, whose district includes part of Fontana, voted in favor of the bill.

Earlier this week, President Biden signed a $1.25 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that was expected to help residents of the Inland Empire, including Fontana.

Now Democrats in Congress want to push through a second, even more costly piece of legislation — the Build Back Better Act — despite strong opposition from Republicans and concern over its impact on the federal deficit.

On Nov. 19, the House approved the new $1.75 trillion proposal, sending it to the Senate, where it will be the subject of much scrutiny from moderate Democrats.

The two House members whose districts include parts of Fontana — Pete Aguilar (D-31st District) and Norma Torres (D-35th District) were very pleased with the vote.

“Today, the House delivered on a generational investment in the American people,” Aguilar said in a statement. “This bill gives a much-needed tax cut to middle-class families, lifts children out of poverty, lowers health care costs, expands child care access, protects Dreamers and members of our immigrant communities, and represents the boldest initiative to fight climate change in our country’s history. Inland Empire families and small businesses are still recovering from the pandemic, and this legislation gives them the resources they need to succeed.

“I was proud to help pass this landmark investment in the American people, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to act quickly so that we can see the results in communities like San Bernardino County.”

Torres claimed that Build Back Better, combined with the earlier bipartisan infrastructure deal, would create 1.5 million new, good-paying American jobs per year.

“Hardworking Americans built this country — now we need to build an economy that gives them a fair shot,” Torres said. “Build Back Better finally delivers crucial support to working families with historic investments in universal free preschool, childcare, quality health care, affordable housing, and higher education. This legislation will cut costs and help people get back to work, so parents don’t have to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table. It will also extend the valuable Child Tax Credit, which benefits 167,000 children in my district alone, and will lift 4.5 million kids out of poverty.”

Torres also mentioned how important it is to address climate change.

“Build Back Better ensures we are protecting our planet for our kids and grandkids, by investing in clean energy, environmental restoration and conservation, and sustainable climate change solutions,” Torres said.

Republicans blasted the bill as a “socialist spending scam,” in the words of House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, who delayed a vote on the bill by speaking for more than eight hours.

“Democrats rejected roughly 600 common-sense amendments from Republicans on their Build Back Better agenda. They decided they’d rather go it alone with their one-party rule,” McCarthy said on Twitter.

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