A Welcome, Overdue Down Payment on What America’s Moms and Families Need, But With a Paid Leave Provision that Must be Strengthened Very Soon
“The devastation the pandemic has wrought is immense, and the relief package Congress passed today is a down payment on the emergency help that desperate, struggling moms and families need. Still, we welcome it and applaud the leaders, and especially House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who fought so hard to ensure it includes essential provisions including: limited cash assistance, including for many mixed-status families; support for vaccine distribution; $10 billion for child care, which is a start but does not come close to meeting the need; $82 billion for schools and colleges; enhanced unemployment benefits including a $300 per week federal payment for a short period of time; rental assistance and a brief extension of the eviction moratorium; a prohibition on surprise medical billing; support for small and minority-owned businesses; a significantly limited paid leave policy, which needs immediate bolstering in 2021; and a stronger Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which will help millions of working families.
To be clear, Senate Republicans let the country down terribly by blocking full extension and expansion of emergency paid leave into 2021.
"While the bill includes tax credits for employers that voluntarily provide this leave, failure to ensure that working people are able to take paid leave means millions of families, and in particular moms of color and low-wage moms, will not be able to quarantine or stay home to care for a daughter or son whose child care center or school is closed or operating only virtually. The next Congress and the Biden Administration must act quickly to put comprehensive, permanent paid family and medical leave in place.
“Congress, impeded by Senate Republican leadership, also acted recklessly by failing to provide funding that would make it possible for state and local governments to pay the emergency responders and frontline workers we need now more than ever. Overall, the modest support this package provides does not meet the moment of the staggering, devastating emergency families are facing. That is because too many lawmakers focus on corporate lobbyists and well-heeled constituents rather than the crisis families are experiencing. MomsRising has members who are living in their cars with their children, who owe back-rent that has destroyed their credit and will take years to repay, and whose jobs are gone and cannot find news ones. We have members who cannot afford to feed themselves, their children, or their aging parents, or pay their utility bills in this frigid winter.
“America’s moms are counting on the Biden-Harris administration and the new Congress to make it their top priority to expand, extend, and build on this package, so that all of America’s families have a chance to recover financially. Unless lawmakers do so, it will be generations before our country recovers from the economic devastation the pandemic has wrought.”