Congressman Donald Norcross

Representing the 1st District of New Jersey
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Rep. Norcross Votes to Invest $761 Billion in Families, Workers, and Mental Health as Part of Education and Labor Committee Reconciliation Package

Sep 10, 2021
News Release
Roughly $761 billion package includes investments to lower costs for families, secure good-paying jobs for American workers, and set a strong foundation for America’s children.

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01), a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, voted to advance provisions of the Build Back Better Act. The bill, which advanced on a vote of 28 - 22 out of committee, includes roughly $450 billion to establish affordable child care and universal pre-K and nearly $80 billion for workforce development programs, including registered apprenticeships. It also includes a key provision authored by Congressman Norcross which expands the U.S. Department of Labor’s authority to hold health insurers and plan sponsors accountable for not offering adequate mental health coverage.

“Today, I was proud to vote to advance the Build Back Better Act that increases opportunity for students, families, and workers,” said Congressman Norcross. “We laid a clear path to make historic investments in affordable child care and higher education, strengthening our public schools, securing good-paying jobs for workers, reducing child hunger, and ensuring mental health parity.

“I was a single dad working in construction and back then it was hard to find affordable, quality child care. With the pandemic, it’s near impossible. Investing in affordable and safe child care options will be life-changing for parents by enabling them to rejoin the workforce and contribute to our economic recovery.”

The Build Back Better (BBB) Act makes a historic investment to lower the cost of child care for working families, allowing parents to get back to work and boosting the American economy by helping employers increase wages for child care providers. Additionally, the BBB Act invests nearly $80 billion in workforce development programs that allow workers to build new skills and secure good-paying jobs.

“I’m an electrician by trade, and I know registered apprenticeships lead to more than just jobs, they lead to careers,” continued Congressman Norcross, who served as an apprentice in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers before being elected to Congress. “A registered apprenticeship program shaped my life – laying the foundation for me to go from the construction site to Congress. Today, many students may want to follow a similar, apprenticeship-based route, and this bill will afford them the opportunity to do that.”

Also included in the BBB Act is a key provision authored by Congressman Norcross that was originally introduced in the House as the Parity Enforcement Act of 2021 (H.R.1364). Including the provision in the base text of the BBB Act will help ensure individuals receive the mental health care they deserve and are legally entitled to.

“While mental health parity is rightfully the law of the land, our enforcement mechanisms are sorely lacking. Insurance companies can get away with not following parity laws even though lives are on the line,” added Congressman Norcross. “It’s time to make sure the American people have the services and support they need to live healthy lives. That is why it is critical that this provision is included in the Build Back Better Act.”

The Build Back Better Act provisions advanced today by the House Committee on Education and Labor include other investments, including for school district repairs and modernization that will create further jobs. Learn more about the Build Back Better Act here.

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Contact: Britton Burdick, Communications Director
britton.burdick@mail.house.gov