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Dems’ family agenda: tax credits, child care and school aid, paid leave

Mitchell Hartman Feb 8, 2021
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Women, especially those with children at home, have lost or left work at unprecedented levels. Virginie Goubier/AFP via Getty Images

Dems’ family agenda: tax credits, child care and school aid, paid leave

Mitchell Hartman Feb 8, 2021
Heard on:
Women, especially those with children at home, have lost or left work at unprecedented levels. Virginie Goubier/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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House Democrats are reportedly about to introduce a plan to boost child tax credits for American families — up to $3,600 per kid, paid in monthly installments and phasing out for higher-income parents.

And last week, Democratic lawmakers reintroduced their paid-leave legislation, which would guarantee workers 12 weeks of paid time off to care for children, spouses or elders.

Both of those proposals are part of a broader Democratic agenda to do more for struggling families.

Low- and middle-income families have taken the pandemic downturn on the chin. 

Many parents have lost jobs and income, said C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

“In this moment, cash matters. Giving families the tax credit in advance or monthly would go a long way to lift families out of poverty and allows them to be able to make ends meet,” Mason said.

But extra cash won’t help much if parents can’t get back to work. 

And women — especially those with children stuck at home now — have lost or left work at unprecedented levels. Women’s workforce participation is at its lowest since the late 1980s, said Emily Martin, vice president for education and workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center. 

Martin said a key priority for helping them is to include aid to states and cities in any new COVID-19 relief package “because women are primarily the workers in state and local government, so when they have funding cuts, women lose their jobs. And it’s also because state and local governments make sure, for example, schools have the resources they need to open safely.”

How about preschools and child care centers? 

Indi Dutta-Gupta, co-executive director at Georgetown University’s Center on Poverty and Inequality, said that despite the Paycheck Protection Program, small-business loans and other government aid, many of these centers have closed down. 

“Right now, we assuredly need tens [of] billions of dollars —probably $40-plus — to help sort of stabilize the child care sector and put it on better footing.”

Finally, with Democrats in control of Congress and the White House, a national paid family and medical leave law seems more likely than ever to pass.

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