American Families Plan Is A Groundbreaking Step Towards Building An Equitable Future

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“This is a truly historic moment. President Biden is transforming the fundamentals in our economy that determine who succeeds. After fighting to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) twenty-eight years ago, and fighting for paid leave since then, the National Partnership is thrilled to see President Biden’s proposal to finally enact a long-overdue universal paid leave plan that meets the needs of working people. We applaud the administration for proposing policies that are intentionally designed to address the health and economic inequities that women and communities of color face.

“The American Families Plan represents a groundbreaking investment in our nation’s caregiving infrastructure, with specific economic and health policies that together will enable women and families to thrive and prosper. This package includes urgently-needed policy solutions that will support families, create jobs and generate economic activity - including investments in paid leave, child care, preschool, higher education, and tax credits that families rely on. We’ve seen so starkly over this past year, how essential that investment in care is to keeping our society, economy, and families going. This plan also recognizes that our nation’s paid caregiving workforce, mostly women of color, should not have to work at poverty wages and sacrifice their own dignity and wellbeing.

“Rebuilding our economy will require policies that help get women back into the workforce, help families achieve financial stability and help businesses be more productive. A critical building block is paid family and medical leave, which ensures workers can take time off work to care for themselves or a loved one. The American Families Plan’s universal paid family and medical leave proposal will provide comprehensive benefits that meet the needs of working people in an equitable and inclusive way.

“Importantly, this pandemic has shined a stark light on the intersections of health and economic justice. The American Families Plan recognizes this fundamental link and takes steps to make health coverage more affordable and accessible and improve maternal health.

“We also want to share our gratitude and appreciation for Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who have led the fight in Congress on paid family and medical leave for so many years. As Congress works to advance the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan, they must address needs across the lifespan of women, families and people of color - the strength of the recovery in these communities will be the true test of whether we have built back better."

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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