MomsRising Urges Congress to Advance Critical Policies and Investments Before the End of the Year
Dear Member of Congress,
On behalf of our over one million MomsRising members around the country, we want to thank you for passing impactful legislation to lift up our nation this Congress, including the Inflation Reduction Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and the American Rescue Plan. We also applaud the recent bipartisan passage of the Respect for Marriage Act – our families are more equal and secure because of the passage of this landmark legislation. Still, Congress has quite a bit of work to be done before the end of the year to ensure the economic security of women and families and support our national economy. We urge Congress to focus on policies needed to boost our families, children, and economy in the next congressional work period.
We continue to hear from moms and children around the country that policies focused on the health and well-being of our families are urgently needed. As families navigate higher costs, many moms continue to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle under the weight of care responsibilities without meaningful supports. That is why we call on you to pass the following policies and investments by the end of the year:
Tax Credits for Families:
At a time of enormous financial hardship for millions of American families, it would be completely unacceptable for Congress to renew President Trump's corporate tax breaks without first providing tax credits for children and families. Our children must be Congress’ first priority. Before its expiration, the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) was transformational for struggling families throughout America, keeping 3.7 million children out of poverty, reducing child poverty by almost half, and cutting food insecurity by more than one quarter. The inclusion of critical tax credits to help families and children, including the monthly refundable CTC and expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, in any year-end corporate tax package is urgently needed.
Maternal Health and Mental Health Care:
In the richest country on earth, moms are dying at the highest rate in the developed world—and that rate is rising. A recent CDC report concluded that more than 80% of maternal deaths are preventable. This situation is especially critical for Black moms who are dying at 3 to 4 times the rate of their white counterparts. In addition, maternal mental health conditions have gone underreported and untreated for far too long, impacting the lives, livelihoods, and families of millions of moms. The following legislation and investments would be a reasonable starting point to address these problems and should be passed by the end of the year:
- The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act (S.346/H.R. 959) - Makes critical investments to address social determinants of health, fund community-based organizations, grow and diversify the perinatal workforce, and improve data collection processes.
- The SHINE for Autumn Act (S. 3972/H.R. 5497) - Aims to reduce the alarmingly high U.S. stillbirth rate.
- The TRIUMPH for New Moms Act (S. 2779/H.R. 4217) - Creates a national strategic plan for addressing maternal mental health disorders.
- The Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Act of 2022 (S. 3824/H.R.7073) - Expands grants to states to create programs to address maternal mental health and establishes a dedicated national maternal mental health hotline to provide 24/7 voice and text services.
- Include the mandatory, permanent extension of Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum as an essential tool in preventing maternal mortality and morbidity and prioritize the maternal health provisions from the House-passed version of H.R. 5376.
Workplace Supports for Moms:
It’s hard enough for pregnant people and postpartum workers to navigate jobs while juggling newborn and care responsibilities. In order to lessen this hardship, we urge the Senate to pass two bipartisan bills, already passed by the House of Representatives, by the end of the year:
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S.4431/H.R. 1065) - Provides reasonable and medically-necessary workplace accommodations for pregnant and postpartum workers.
The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act (S. 1658/H.R. 3110) - Provides reasonable workplace accommodations for lactating and pumping employees.
Permanent Protections for Dreamers:
A ruling by a U.S. court of appeals has once again thrown into question the future of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients. Dreamers are the parents of American citizen children, valued employees in essential industries, and community leaders in every state who were brought to this country as children and know the U.S. as their only home. This adds new urgency to pass the legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers by the end of the year so these individuals, who are Americans in every way except on paper, receive the security and dignity they deserve.
Investments in Early Learning:
Three years since the start of COVID, nearly half a million families are estimated to be stranded without reliable child care and child care workers continue to struggle with low wages, exacerbating the nation's worker shortage as parents continue to stay home or struggle with patchwork care. Due to child care shortages and under-payment of the child care workforce who are primarily women of color, in addition to other systemic barriers, women, including moms, still haven’t made employment gains in the labor market.
MomsRising has advocated for deep investments and policies to guarantee quality, affordable child care for all families since the pandemic began, and while many of the COVID crisis packages included emergency funding, more must be done to help families and child care workers. This is why we are calling on Congress to double the CCDBG funding for FY2023 and create a path for renewing the much needed and successful child care stabilization grants that are set to expire in 2023.
We were very pleased with the major health care achievements made in the Inflation Reduction Act. But some key pieces were left out of that historic legislation that families need and depend on and should be passed this year:
- Insulin Provision - Encourage insulin manufacturers and Big Pharma to reduce their list prices and limit out-of-pocket costs for 37 million Americans to $35 per month.
- Increase funding for Home - and Community-Based Services (HCBS) under Medicaid to provide services to the 820K people who are currently on waiting lists, include workforce investments and permanently extend the Medicaid Money Follows the Person Program and make the extension of spousal impoverishment protections to HCBS permanent.
- The Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act of 2022 (H.R. 8876) - Extends and strengthens the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program to ensure expectant parents and parents of young children receive evidence-based home visiting services that improve children’s health and development, school readiness, and economic security.
- COVID-19 Funding - The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect families across the country. Families need continued access to public health and safety resources. We urge Congress to advance robust investments to contain the spread of COVID-19, including funding for vaccines.
- In addition to the maternal health bills mentioned above, we encourage the passage of the entire Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022 (H.R. 7666) to help address the mental health crisis our children, families, and nation are currently facing.
- Ensure continuous eligibility for individuals eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicaid, permanently fund CHIP, and streamline enrollment.
- Provide additional Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories to avoid severe, damaging cuts that could affect more than 1 million residents in Puerto Rico alone and have devastating effects on the women and families enrolled in this coverage.
Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act:
Congress has the opportunity to dramatically reduce the number of hungry children in the U.S. by passing the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act, the much-anticipated Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) bill. This bill would expand access to school meals, address unpaid school meal fees, preserve the future of meal programs, modernize the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), address food insecurity during the summer, improve school meal capacity and sustainability, allow for one additional reimbursable meal for children in a full day of care, and create a pilot program for Tribal governments. As rising grocery prices leave families nationwide struggling to put food on the table, the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act takes critical steps to expand access to free, healthy school meals.
Gun Violence and the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022:
The United States continues to face horrific gun violence. Recent mass shootings at the University of Virginia, Club Q in Colorado Springs, and the Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia highlight the heartbreaking toll and national scope of this tragic violence.
Congress must act now to pass comprehensive gun policy reform. Earlier this year, the House passed the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, and the Senate must move to pass this life-saving legislation before the end of the year to stem the tide of gun violence and protect our families.
Equal Rights Amendment:
The Senate has a chance by the end of this year to pass S.J. Res 1 and remove the time limit for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The ERA should have been ratified long ago and is even more urgent now, especially in the face of the Dobbs decision. The ERA is needed not only to keep progress moving forward, but also because without explicit constitutional protection, the hard-fought advancements of gender justice can be rolled back by future legislatures or courts, whether due to political shifts or unexpected calamities like the pandemic.
We look forward to working with you on all these important pieces of legislation and making the next few weeks productive for our families and nation. If you have any questions, please reach out to Elyssa Schmier at Elyssa@momsrising.org.
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director/CEO
Donna Norton, Executive Vice President & Chief Advancement & Strategy Officer
Elyssa Schmier, Vice President, Government Relations & National Budget
Ruth Martin, Senior Vice President & Chief Workplace Justice Officer
Gloria Pan, Senior Vice President Member Engagement, Campaign Innovations & Gun Control
Namatie Mansaray, Senior Director, Workplace Justice
Tina Sherman, Senior Campaign Director, Maternal Justice
Claudia Tristán, Immigration Campaign Director
Felicia Burnett, National Director, Healthcare
Nina Perez, National Director, Early Learning
Lauren Hipp, National Director, Early Learning & Washington State