In this Oct. 25, 2021, file photo, President Joe Biden delivers remarks at NJ Transit Meadowlands Maintenance Complex to promote his Build Back Better agenda in Kearny, New Jersey. Credit: Evan Vucci / AP

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The Build Back Better Act and the already passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act make up two of the most ambitious pieces of legislation since Congress passed President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s. The New Deal radically transformed American government in order to recover from the Great Depression through federal programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps.

President Joe Biden and members of Congress have now proposed similar transformative programs in both physical and human infrastructure to recover from a pandemic that has ravaged our country and changed the way that we work and live. Some in the administration, such as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, are calling it the “Big Deal.”

Just like the New Deal, the Build Back Better Act is also an investment in the American people, and emphasizes a new normal that our country must now face. In particular, our children need to live in an environment that will allow them to thrive in the future, which is why a significant part of the bill addresses the climate change crisis. The bill’s Civilian Climate Corps program is directly modeled after Roosevelt’s Conservation Corps program and will provide hundreds of thousands of jobs to younger Americans to restore public lands and make our communities more resilient to the effects of climate change.

America has needed these transformative changes like these for decades. Congress must now act on this opportunity and pass the Build Back Better Act to complete the “Big Deal” for all Americans.

Jonathan French