The American Rescue Plan Is Policy for Women and Their Families

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

“One year after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic, President Biden has signed into law an historic piece of legislation that will bring true relief to American families who have been shouldering insurmountable burdens. The American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion dollar relief package, is policy with heart that responds to what women and families need right now.

“The COVID-19 crisis has shone a spotlight on problems in our infrastructure that have been ignored for far too long. Women, particularly women of color, have been hammered by a caregiving crisis that has pushed them out of the workforce in record numbers. Public health disparities exacerbated by systemic racism have been laid bare as this virus has disproportionately taken the lives of Black and Latinx Americans. The promise of the American Rescue Plan is a downpayment toward a more equitable future that will allow all Americans to pursue whole, healthy, economically-secure lives.

“The American Rescue Plan creates much needed pathways to health coverage for those who need it most by making premiums more affordable for plans under the Affordable Care Act and for the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and by strengthening the Medicaid program, which is the largest payer for women’s health. It also ensures people can get the life-saving vaccines they need by providing necessary, expanded funding for equitable distribution, particularly for communities who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

“For decades, the National Partnership has fought for paid family and medical leave and paid sick days. The American Rescue Plan prioritizes families and public health by extending and expanding the emergency paid sick leave and paid family leave tax credits. These tax credits will allow employers to continue providing these benefits to their employees who need time off to care for themselves and their families. It also allows these tax credits for our state and local public servants, provides emergency paid leave for federal employees, and ensures emergency paid leave for federal contractors. Together, these provisions are a big step toward the permanent, universal, comprehensive paid leave American workers deserve. Additionally, direct payments to American families will help alleviate some of the financial burdens brought on by job loss, increasing healthcare bills and other unexpected expenses. Most notably, the plan includes an expanded and improved Child Tax Credit that could cut child poverty in half.

“The plan prioritizes funding for a caregiving infrastructure that will give women the support they need to rejoin the workforce. A $39 billion investment in childcare could save thousands of providers from permanent closure. $450 billion invested in Medicaid home and community-based services will make it possible for people with disabilities and older adults to receive long-term services and support in their homes.

“The National Partnership is heartened to work with an administration that understands supporting the stability of our nation’s women and families is essential to the long-term health and economic security of our country. We applaud the Biden-Harris Administration and Congressional leaders for their demonstrated commitment toward delivering results for America’s women. This relief package is a first step with measurable impact that lays important groundwork for lasting, equitable change. It’s policy that meets the needs of the people our officials were elected to serve. Thank you to the community leaders, partners and congressional champions who worked to make sure this relief gets to the American people.”

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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