ACTION ALERT: Care Infrastructure in Danger
Care Infrastructure in Build Back Better Act, Other Provisions in Danger – Act NOW
THE ISSUE: Democrats will be scaling back the $3.5 trillion price tag for the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) because of demands by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Their opposition threatens chances of success for many of our priorities for care infrastructure in the legislation. Per our Childcare and Early Learning Coalition allies, “Senator Manchin reportedly has asked progressives to choose one priority to fund between the expanded child tax credit, paid family medical leave, or subsidies for child care. This is, of course, ridiculous – no one should have to choose between buying books for your kids, taking time off to care for a loved one, or affording child care. “
House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said last week that the overall figure might be reduced to between $2 to $2.3 trillion, and the length of authorization for ten years may be cut back as well. Lawmakers and our allies who favor heavy investments in housing, health care, education, and other needed investments are worried about cutbacks because there is a serious concern that the essential parts of the caregiving and family support provisions will be underfunded or deleted.
WHY IT MATTERS: The Build Back Better Act, the signature piece of legislation of the Biden/Harris Administration, is a comprehensive once-in-several-generations effort to strengthen families’ economic security, reduce poverty, increase opportunities for workers, and provide better access to education and training. It is being hailed as a comprehensive initiative authorizing long-needed investments in families, workers, women, and the economy. Millions of women have been hard hit during the pandemic, lost or gave up their jobs, and stayed home to care for families. What will help immensely is a system of high-quality, affordable childcare, early learning, pre-K, Head Start, paid medical and family leave, and other programs that support working families and are universally accessible.
THE STATUS: The House must come to an agreement soon and pass the Build Back Better Act, along with the bipartisan $1 trillion-plus ‘hard infrastructure’ bill which has already passed the Senate. The BBBA will then be sent to the Senate as part of a budget reconciliation package that requires only a simple majority vote. In the meantime, corporate lobbies who oppose parts of the BBBA are pressuring lawmakers to cave under the promise of big campaign contributions.
WHAT CAN I DO? NOW members should contact House representatives immediately and stress that we must not pit one caregiving program against another, and we must fully fund caregiving and other programs. Urge them to support retaining ALL of the caregiving provisions in the Build Back Better Act and fund the expansion of childcare and Early Learning programs by $450 billion. This is a bare-bones amount that is absolutely essential to strengthen families and help support women and should not be reduced!
HOW DO I DO IT? It is best to make a call! Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and be connected to your local Representative’s office. Here is a directory to members of the U.S. House of Representatives. House members have one or more district offices, and these should be contacted as well; that information is on the member’s website. Time is of the essence!