Rep. Jennifer Wexton
Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., and other members of the House of Representatives in the Capitol, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Jennifer Wexton told us the four things that could particularly help the residents in her district, and why passing the Build Back Better act is still so important.

The exact outline of Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton’s district is still up in the air for next year’s election, but regardless of where the lines fall, she knows one thing: “I think everything in there would benefit all the people of my district.”

Wexton is talking about the Build Back Better Act, the legislation that would give Americans paid leave, significantly expand clean energy initiatives, and continue the expanded Child Tax Credit.

That bill, however, is currently stuck in the Senate. But in the meantime, Democrats facing tough reelections in 2022, as Wexton might, have another major accomplishment to focus on: the bipartisan infrastructure law. Every Virginia Democrat in the House voted for that bill; each House Republican voted ‘nay.’

Wexton says there are four things that will particularly help her constituents, who live in northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley:

  • Reauthorization of federal funding for WMATA
  • Replacing and repairing air traffic control facilities
  • Modernizing Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor
  • Chesapeake Bay restoration and conservation

“We can’t just build roads to get out of our congestion problems,” Wexton told Dogwood. “We need to make sure that we have a very robust transit system, and we need multimodal options.”

A huge problem in Northern Virginia? Congestion–and not the kind that means you have a few tissues on hand. Traffic is almost a guarantee in trips around the DMV. Having ‘multimodal options’ means taking advantage of all forms of transportation.

“For some of the inner suburbs, that means bike lanes…having good parking garages at the terminus of the Metro system,” Wexton said. “We need to have an all-of-the-above approach in order to be able to find transportation solutions.”

The original version of the bipartisan infrastructure plan included funding for local projects that House members requested. Those got dropped in the Senate version that ultimately became law, but Wexton hasn’t forgotten about them. 

“I’m still gonna fight for those projects because they’re extremely important to my region,” Wexton said.

One is a plan to redevelop the “Mathis corridor” which would connect Manassas’s historic districts with better pedestrian paths and designated turn lanes. Wexton says it would “make an enormous difference in multimodal transportation, making it safer for pedestrian access and bike access.”

Money for many of these projects could also increase if the Build Back Better Act becomes law. But top of mind for Wexton is that expanded tax credit for children.

“I understand that inflation is real, and it’s very upsetting to a lot of people,” Wexton said. “I’ve seen it myself at the grocery store and at the pump, but that’s one of the reasons that the Child Tax Credit is so important right now because it’s fully refundable…and getting that is hugely beneficial when it comes to defraying these additional expenses that you have,” Wexton said.

The current version of the bill extends the credit through 2022. But it isn’t likely to become law before the end of the year, meaning the monthly checks won’t come again in January.