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How To Get the Benefits of the American Rescue Plan

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What the heck is the American Rescue Plan?

MomsRising and the #CareCantWait Coalition came together with U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and experts on April 8, 2021 to get you information on how to get the new benefits available due to the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

Why? Polls are showing that the majority of people in our nation don’t know what’s in the American Rescue Plan for them -- and in order to achieve the goal of the ARP actually helping to decrease child poverty by 50%, people need to know about how to get the new benefits.

So, when you scroll down below, you’ll get some specifics about what’s in the American Rescue Plan for you, including: How to access the new Child Tax Credit, EITC, and stimulus checks; Ways to get expanded unemployment benefits; What’s happening with child care assistance; Who qualifies for pandemic leave and expanded home- and community-based services; and, How to get access to expanded healthcare coverage.

One specific example of what we need to get the word out about is: As of a couple weeks ago, due to the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan, you can get $3,600/year for kids 0-5 and $3,000/year for kids 6-17 through the updated Child Tax Credit… even if people aren’t earning income, but to get the check people (even with zero income) have to file taxes by May 17th unless you file an extension.

Of course, the more people who get this information, the better! So feel free to forward the link to this blog to friends, family, and colleagues! Thank you for working to build a nation where everyone can thrive.

  1. How to get the new tax credits in the American Rescue Plan

  2. How to get the new childcare benefits in the American Rescue Plan

  3. How to get the new unemployment benefits in the American Rescue Plan 

  4. How to get the expanded healthcare benefits & home- and community-based services coverage in the American Rescue Plan 

  5. How to get the pandemic leave in the American Rescue Plan 

 


 

How to claim the expanded tax credits (CTC, EITC and more) and get the stimulus payment from the American Rescue Plan

Amy Matsui, Director of Income Security & Senior Counsel, National Women’s Law Center

There are four important tax credits in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that you should be aware of:

  • For tax year 2021, the ARPA increases the amount of the  Child Tax Credit (CTC) from $2,000 per child under age 17 to $3,600 per child under age six, and $3,000 per child ages six to 17. In addition, the ARPA makes the CTC fully refundable, even for families with no earned income. And, starting in July, the IRS will make one or more advance payments of the credit available (totaling up to half of the 2021 CTC amount).  

  • For tax year 2021, the ARPA makes the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) more generous for working people who do not claim children for the credit. It also makes more workers eligible to claim the credit.

  • For tax year 2021, the ARPA also expands the Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), which provides tax assistance for families with out-of-pocket child care expenses. The ARPA makes the CDCTC refundable and increases the amount of the credit to a maximum of $4,000 for one child and $8,000 for two or more children. 

  • Finally, the ARPA authorizes a third round of Economic Impact Payments (aka stimulus payments). (Technically, the stimulus payments are structured as a refundable tax credit.) Families will receive direct payments of up to $1,400 per eligible person, including children and adult dependents. Importantly, these payments include individuals with Social Security Numbers in mixed-status families. More than 156 million payments have already gone out since March 12!

Even though some of these credits don’t kick in until you file your taxes next year, the most important thing you can do right now is file a 2020 tax return by the May 17 deadline (unless you request an extension). 

  • This will ensure that you receive the full amount of the first two stimulus payments that were paid out in 2020.

  • Filing a 2020 tax return will also ensure you receive the full amount of your third stimulus payment from the ARPA. The IRS may have already sent you a third stimulus payment based on your 2019 tax return. But if your income dropped in 2020 so that you qualify for a larger stimulus, the IRS will send you a second payment once your 2020 tax return is processed.

  • It will also provide information for advance Child Tax Credit payments in 2021. 

  • And you may be eligible to claim the EITC, CTC, the CDCTC or other tax credits for 2020 (and in some cases, for previous years)! 

While this is a chaotic tax filing season, there is free help available. You can check the IRS website to see if there is a VITA site, where you can get help filing your taxes from trained volunteers, open near you. Your state’s 211 number may also have information about VITA sites in your community. You can also file your taxes for free online, with support from IRS-certified, trained volunteers, at www.GetYourRefund.org

To claim the full 2021 CTC, EITC and Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit expansions under the ARPA, you will need to file a 2021 tax return in early 2022. In the meantime:

  • Beware of scammers pretending to be the IRS. The IRS will never ask you for personal information (like your Social Security Number, bank account, or a credit card number) over the phone, or by email, text or social media. The IRS also won’t threaten you with jail or lawsuits, or demand tax payments on gift cards.

  • Stay tuned for more information about advance payments of the Child Tax Credit in 2021. (Reminder: starting in July, the IRS will provide for one or more advance payments of up to half the 2021 CTC amount). The IRS is working out the details as we speak.

  • If you pay for child care or care for a family member with a disability so you can go to work, here are some things you can do to make claiming the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit easier:

    • Keep track of your out-of-pocket child care expenses (check stubs, receipts, Venmo or electronic bank transfer records). You will need to tell the IRS how much you paid for the care of each eligible child (under age 13) or dependent with a disability in total, in 2021. 

    • You will also need to provide the name and address of your child care provider(s). You will also need to ask your provider for a tax identification number or Social Security Number. You should know that if you ask for a tax ID, and they do not provide one, you can still claim the CDCTC.

    • While you can claim expenses from many different care arrangements (including a babysitter, family member or neighbor, nanny, child care center or family child care home, before- or after-school care, summer day camp, etc.), you cannot claim expenses if you paid them to your spouse, your child’s other parent, your child who is under age 19, or a dependent whom you claim on your tax return. And if you have a Dependent Care Assistance Plan (DCAP) at work, the expenses you can claim for the CDCTC will be reduced by the amount of your DCAP benefits.

 

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How to get the new childcare benefits in the American Rescue Plan

Myra Jones-Taylor, Zero to Three

  • Let’s talk first about what was included in the ARP for child care. The bill included $15 billion in additional funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant to support increased access to care subsidies for working families. This builds on an additional $10 billion that CCDBG received in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) in December.  
  • It also included $24 billion in a Child Care Stabilization Fund for states to provide direct support to child care providers, who have faced incredible financial turmoil as a direct result of the pandemic. In fact according to a December survey by NAEYC – more than half of all child care centers said they were losing money every day they remained open due to increased costs and reduced enrollment.  
  • For families who are struggling to find affordable child care, increased access to child care subsidies might make the difference between being able to continue working or having to leave the workforce altogether.  
  • For providers, the additional funds they will have access to might mean the difference between being forced to close permanently – increasing our child care supply crisis – or remaining open to serve their communities.  
  • We are incredibly grateful to Congress for providing this much needed lifeline to the child care system – it will help avert a collapse of the sector that would have devastated children, families, providers, and our broader economy.  
  • For families looking to access help paying for child care, the first step is to make sure you are eligible. Eligibility is determined by states, and will vary state-to-state. In regular times, families with incomes below the 85th percentile of their state median income are eligible to receive care subsidies (under federal law), although many states set eligibility much lower. In real dollars, this federal eligibility standard translates to about $57,000 a year for a family of three, but with lower state eligibility levels, access to subsidies is limited on average to families with maximum incomes of less than $38,000.  
    • And these funds are flexible to what type of care families have chosen. Take, for example, Family, Friends and Neighbor Care (or FFN). It’s an integral part of the child care system. According to a recent NWLC report about this type of child care during and after COVID-19, 51 percent of FFN providers surveyed reported that they receive funding (subsidies), other than payments from parents or other individuals, to provide child care. But Spanish-speaking providers were about half as likely as English-speaking respondents to report receiving outside financial support to provide care. 
    • ARP funds are available to FFN providers, and ca help support parent choice in type of care. If paired with future dollars and long-term solutions, ARP can help build supply, particularly for infants whose care tends to cost more.  
  • Congress has waived this income eligibility limit during the COVID-19 crisis for health sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and others deemed essential by the states.  
    • California, for example, is using a portion of the emergency CCDBG funds it received under CRRSA to extend emergency child care vouchers for essential workers, as well as children at-risk of abuse or neglect and children with disabilities or special healthcare needs.  
  • The best thing families can do to check their eligibility and whether there are funds available is to reach out to their local child care resource and referral agency, or to the agency in their county that handles child care subsidies, whether a welfare office, a department of social services, or a human services office.  
    • One of our key partners, Child Care Aware of America, provides a convenient search tool for families looking for a resource and referral agency near them at https://www.childcareaware.org/resources/ccrr-search-form/. 
  • For providers hoping to access a child care stabilization grant, there will also be variance state-by-state. However, providers of all types should keep in mind several key points as they await more information from their state lead agencies. 
    • Providers need not have previously received funding under CCDBG to receive a subgrant under the child care stabilization fund. 
    • In order to qualify for a grant, providers must be either open and available to provide child care services, or closed due to public health, financial hardship or other reasons stemming from the pandemic emergency. 
    • Awards will be determined based on current operating expenses, including additional costs associated with providing or preparing to provide services during the public health emergency, and should be designed to cover sufficient operating expenses to ensure providers can operate continuously during the grant period.  
  • The ARP legislation requires state lead agencies to operate a website for providers to apply for a subgrant. In addition to the information above, providers must also certify that upon receipt of the grant and for the duration of its receipt, they will: 
    • Pay each employee their full compensation and benefits and not reduce that compensation or involuntarily furlough an employee. 
    • Provide copayment and tuition relief to families enrolled in the program to the extent possible, giving priority to families struggling to make payments.
  • Finally, providers who receive funds under the stabilization fund, must use those funds for at least one of the following purposes:
    • Paying personnel costs, including premium pay for their employees;
    • Covering the cost of physical space, including rent or mortgage payments, utilities, facility maintenance or improvements, and insurance cost;
    • Purchasing PPE, cleaning supplies, equipment or training and professional development related to health and safety;
    • Mental health supports for children and employees; and
    • Other goods and services necessary to maintain or resume operations.  
  • Providers can also use funds to pay back expenses or debts incurred in response to the COVID-19 emergency prior to the receipt of funds.
  • With many parents concerned about COVID exposure in care settings, these relief funds support health and safety measures in a variety of settings.
  • The most immediate next step providers should take as they await more information is to reach out to their lead agency on a timetable for setting up the application website and subgrant process.
  • Before we close, I think it is critical to note again that while this funding was absolutely necessary to prevent a total collapse of the child care sector, it does not get us to where we need to be in terms of a care economy that works for parents, providers and children.
  • In the weeks and months to come, we look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to secure increased appropriations for programs like CCDBG that support families access to affordable care, while also pushing for permanent, comprehensive changes to the child care system that would ensure all families have access to quality care in the setting that best meets their needs, and that the early educators who care for children are compensated in a manner more in line with the critical importance of the work they do.
    • This will be particularly important for many families who might still struggle to afford care but make too much money to qualify for subsidies under CCDBG. If we consider the broader range of low- and moderate-income families who would benefit from additional support paying for child care, just 4 percent of families with incomes below 150 percent of their state’s median income received a subsidy to support their access to child care.
  • Child care is the foundation upon which the rest of our economy sits, and for many children helps shape their lifelong developmental trajectory. The pandemic revealed just how essential child care is as a public good – and now it’s time for our leaders to fund it as such. We thank Speaker Pelosi for being a long time champion for these issues and look forward to shaping a stronger, more equitable future for all our young children and families. 

 

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The American Rescue Plan Unemployment Questions and Answers

Andrew Stettner, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation

The COVID19 pandemic unleashed a historic wave of unemployment caused by business closures, the lack of child care and repercussions. Powered by big expansions in the CARES Act, Unemployment Insurance has been the first line of defense for families seeking to keep their finances intact after the unexpected loss of income. The American Rescue Plan ensured that critical expanded programs would continue through the end of the deep pandemic winter and into September 2021. Moreover it includes critical new provisions to solve unintended problems and start fixing an outmoded system that led to major delays in getting out vital aid.  

Individuals can continue receiving pandemic unemployment benefits without filing a new UI application 

  • The first stop for any unemployment benefit program is your state unemployment office regardless of whether you are applying for federal or state benefits. You can find your office here https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/UnemploymentBenefits/Find-Unemployment-Benefits.aspx

  • Individuals initially eligible for standard unemployment benefits will now be able to receive up to 53 weeks of PEUC benefits (up from 24) if they are long term unemployed. 

  • Workers who are ineligible for regular benefits but are unemployed due to COVID19  (like freelance/gig workers and those who lost child care) can continue to receive PUA benefits. The maximum duration of PUA benefits was increased from 50 to 79 weeks. 

  • Regardless of what programs that individuals are on, benefit payments will be increased by $300 per week through September 6, in the form of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC)

  • In most cases workers will not have to reapply to get these extra weeks. They can simply continue to file weekly claims as they have over the last year

 

American Rescue Plan significantly cuts back surprise unemployment tax bills

Unemployment benefits are typically  taxable, and families faced a huge surprise tax bill of thousands of dollars this year (even though many workers, like those on PUA, were not even allowed to withhold taxes). The American Rescue Plan exempted the first $10,200 in unemployment income from 2020 from any federal income taxes, which translates to an average tax savings of $1,000 (available to those with less than $150,000 in household income.)

The good news is that this tax saving should be largely automatic. The IRS has assured that those  early birds who had already filed their unemployment taxes before the ARP passed will have their taxes adjusted automatically before their return is processed. (Although families can file an amended return if they omitted certain credits if unemployment artificially inflated their income) Those who have not filed taxes yet should reduce the unemployment income on their official 1099-G by $10,200. 

Workers should keep an eye out for new benefits and requirements

States are just now setting up an important new program first passed in December continued by the American Rescue Plan—the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation program. This program is for those who are on traditional benefits but would be getting more on PUA based on their freelance income (like a professional musician paid for gigs who also teach once a week at a school). These individuals will soon have the chance to apply for an additional $100 per week in benefits provided they can document $5,000 in net self-employment income during the tax year before they first lost work (typically 2019).

Those on PUA need to be aware of another key rule. In 2021, everyone who is still receiving PUA (regardless of when they started) will have to submit documentation of their pre-COVID employment loss. This could include 2019 tax returns, paystubs or documentation of a withdrawn job offer.  PUA recipients will have 90 days to meet this requirement, once their state notifies them of the procedures. 

Understand the Benefit Year Fix

Many on unemployment are seeing ominous looking notes saying that their “benefit year is ending.” Don’t panic. In normal times, unemployed individuals are given 1 year to collect unemployment benefits, after which they can reapply and be eligible again. Since the pandemic extensions in the American Rescue Plan total up to more than 1 year, there is a potential overlap between an additional year of state unemployment benefits and the CARES Act extensions. 

Most on American Rescue Plan benefits won’t have to worry about this overlap, including almost all of those on PUA and those who have not worked between the time they were first out of work and now. Those who have worked for multiple weeks are likely to have to reapply for state benefits, and may be eligible for a new benefit year. In many cases the new rate of state benefits will be lower because it’s based on a shorter work history. The American Rescue Plan fixes this problem -- ensuring that any workers facing a benefit cut of more than $25 will be able to stay on PEUC benefits.  This is one of the more complicated parts of the law--please check your state unemployment website carefully. 

There’s more

There’s a lot more in the American Rescue Plan for the unemployed, including extension of other smaller programs like short-time compensation and Extended Benefits. And, Congress set aside $2 billion for new federal and state IT improvements to fix problems that have led to long delays in benefits, including tens of thousands still waiting on pending appeals. Put simply, the American Rescue Plan locks in aid for 18 million plus American on one form of unemployment benefits or another through September 6th. The work is not done--the economy won’t be back to normal by then, so additional assistance will be needed. And, it’s time for Congress to learn the lessons of the pandemic and put in long-term structural fixes that won’t require emergency legislation every time there is a crisis.

 

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Healthcare and Home and Community-Based Services in the ARP

Nicole Jorwic, Senior Director of Public Policy, The Arc of the United States
 

How do I get access to healthcare?  Are there any new HCBS benefits in the ARP that I can now access?

The COVID pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for healthcare coverage. As people all over the country lost access to their employer-sponsored health insurance, the need for expansion of access was clear. For people with disabilities and aging adults, in addition to traditional healthcare, there is a huge need for other supports called home and community-based services (HCBS). These services can include things like day programs for older adults and people with disabilities, employment supports, assistance with getting around the community, in home-support for personal care and assistance. The need for these home and community-based services was also highlighted during the pandemic, as HCBS are the alternative to the large congregate settings, such as nursing facilities and other institutions that were shown to be extreme public health hazards for people with disabilities and aging adults.


Healthcare in the ARP:

Significant premium subsidies for people purchasing health coverage on the Marketplaces

  • The cost of coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace was reduced for all individuals eligible for subsidies. Individuals making between 100-150% of the federal poverty level (FPL) will pay no premiums. Eligibility for tax credit subsidies was also expanded. For tax years 2021 and 2022 households above 400% FPL are now eligible for those subsidies.
  • The ARP also provides eligibility for marketplace coverage for individuals who receive unemployment compensation during 2021.

Provides financial incentive for states who have not expanded Medicaid under the ACA

  • The ARP provides a temporary incentive of a 5% increase for two years in the Federal share or Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to states to support expansion of coverage. The FMAP increase is immediately available to states. States choosing to expand will be required to maintain coverage levels.

What You Can Do?

  • Go to: https://www.healthcare.gov/apply-and-enroll/get-ready-to-apply/
    Enter your state and other information requested to get  ACA marketplace coverage, and see what subsidies are available based on income.
  • If you live in a state that has not expanded Medicaid, work with advocates to support the expansion and bring additional Federal dollars to your state.


Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) in the ARP

Significant Federal investment in Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)

  • The ARP includes $12.7 billion for one year of funding to strengthen and expand access to Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS).
  • HCBS funding can be used to provide services to people currently on the waiting lists, better pay for the direct care workforce, and to reopen programs, many of which have been closed for a year.

What You Can Do?

  • If you have a family member who is a person with disability and aging adult make sure that you know the HCBS that may be available.Go to: https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/home-community-based-services/home-community-based-services-authorities/home-community-based-services-1915c/index.html Learn more about what services are available and how to become eligible in your state.
  • Work with advocates in your state to ensure that states are expanding access to HCBS as an alternative to large congregate settings. Older adults want to age safely at home, and people with disabilities want to remain part of their communities.

 

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How to get the pandemic leave in the American Rescue Plan

Dawn Huckelbridge, Director, Paid Leave for All

Paid Leave for All is a growing campaign of organizations working to win paid family and medical leave for all working people (we especially want to give thanks to MomsRising and all our Care Can’t Wait partners, and kudos to A Better Balance who developed the legal summary below. They maintain a free and confidential helpline you can call for more assistance: 1-833-NEED-ABB). 

At Paid Leave for All we want all people to have access to at least 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with a new child, address a personal or family illness, or handle needs that arise from military deployment. The United States is one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t guarantee any form of paid leave, which meant that when the pandemic hit, we were unprepared. Four in five workers had no access to paid family leave; more than 30 million workers, particularly on the frontlines, didn’t have access to a single day of paid leave. 

But the good news is that one of the first things Congress did when COVID struck was pass our country’s first national paid leave policy, in a historic, bipartisan vote. In March 2020, the federal government enacted landmark emergency paid leave through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This law gave millions of workers new rights to paid, job-protected leave for a range of COVID related needs, paid for by the federal government through tax credits to employers. The FFCRA emergency paid leave saved jobs and saved lives, preventing more than 15,000 COVID cases per day. The program expired in December 2020, but Congress extended the tax credits for both employers and self-employed people through March 31, 2021. 

Then in March of this year, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan. Like the December package, the ARP does not reinstate employees’ rights to take paid leave from work under the law. However, it does provide tax credits to cover the costs of providing expanded emergency paid leave through September, 2021. Like the previous credits, these are available to private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees and to self-employed workers; these credits are also available to state and local governments. The ARP also grants many federal employees and self-employed workers the right to emergency paid leave through September.

Our small business partners especially have shared what a lifeline these provisions were. According to Main Street Alliance member Marcia Saint Hilaire-Finn from Bright Start Early Care in Washington, DC: 

“Having access to this paid leave meant I could continue to pay my entire staff—18 people—even though they couldn’t work because of the public health measures we took. My employees collected their checks and I could feel confident that making the right decision to protect others wouldn’t mean my employees would miss rent or food on the table.”

Here’s what you need to know about the current law: 

Tax credits for employers are available for private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees and state and local government employers for covered costs of providing leave for a total of up to 14 weeks for workers who:

1. have coronavirus symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis;

2. are subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to coronavirus;

3. have been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider due to coronavirus-related concerns;

4. need to care for their child because their child’s school or childcare has been closed or childcare is unavailable due to coronavirus;

5. are caring for someone who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to coronavirus, or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to coronavirus;

6. are seeking or waiting for results of a coronavirus test or diagnosis due to exposure or at their employer’s request (even if they are not symptomatic); or

7. are obtaining or recovering from a coronavirus vaccination.

 

For employees:

  • If your private-sector employer has fewer than 500 employees: Your employer is no longer required by federal law to provide paid leave but if they do provide paid leave for covered purposes, they can get a tax credit to cover the full cost. If you have a covered need, you can ask about leave and let your employer know about the tax credit. In effect, employers can choose to extend FFCRA protections at no cost to themselves. 

  • If your employer is a state or local government: Your employer is no longer required by federal law to provide paid leave. However, if they do provide paid leave for covered purposes between April 1 and September 30, 2021, they can get a tax credit to cover the full cost. Once again, if you have a covered need, you can ask about leave and let your employer know about the tax credit.

  • If your employer is the federal government: You may have the right to COVID-19 related paid leave from your employer. 

  • For all employees: You may still have important rights under state or local paid leave laws. You can call ABB’s helpline at 1-833-NEED-ABB.

  • For self-employed workers: You still have the right to tax credits to cover leave for covered purposes.

And the great news is we have the opportunity coming out of this crisis to make meaningful reforms that will transform our policies and help people’s lives. We look forward to working with leadership, Congress, and the Administration to pass a permanent and comprehensive paid family and medical leave law this year. 

We all have a stake in ensuring people do not spread illness when they are sick and recovering, that no one ever has to choose between their family and their paycheck. We need a sustainable paid leave policy in place so that families and businesses are never scrambling for piecemeal solutions when a caregiving need arises or a crisis strikes. 

If we want to build back better, paid leave has to be a part of our infrastructure and included in the economic recovery plan, as key as roads and bridges to helping people get to work and stay employed. The American Jobs and Families Plans are fundamental to creating a resilient economy grounded in racial and gender equity. We can and we must pass paid leave now. 

 

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MomsRising's COVID Relief Priorities

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Download MomsRising's COVID Relief Priorities (PDF)


The moms of America urge leaders to immediately pass a comprehensive, robust COVID-relief package that centers the growing racial disparity in COVID-19 morbidity throughout each issue area and lifts families and our economy. Shocking data show Black, Latinx, and Native American people are dying at rates markedly higher than white Americans.

Our elected leaders must develop and implement health equity interventions across all components of coronavirus response legislation, collect national health outcomes data by race, and ensure that all new policies urgently address these racial and ethnic disparities.

COVID-19 relief must be enacted immediately and include the following:

  • PAID LEAVE. Congress must include robust paid leave in any COVID-related package. Access to paid leave in the pandemic has been linked to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 by as much as 15,000 new cases per day where people are able to use the leave. Paid leave during the pandemic has prevented countless evictions, hospitalizations, hungry children, and sleepless nights. The last Congress left town without expanding and extending emergency paid leave, putting 31 million parents at risk for losing access to paid childcare leave at the same time the virus is surging and many schools are operating virtually. This new Congress must fix that mistake and act quickly to renew and expand emergency paid leave by passing President Biden’s plan. President Biden’s paid leave plan that will provide 14 weeks of paid sick and family and medical leave to help parents with additional caregiving responsibilities when a child or loved one’s school or care center is closed; for people who have or are caring for people with COVID-19 symptoms, or who are quarantining due to exposure; and for people needing to take time to get the vaccine. The plan also provides paid leave to federal workers and will reimburse employers with less than 500 employees for the cost of this leave and more. This plan will also extend the emergency paid leave benefits until the end of September 2021. While we need a permanent paid leave policy in this county, the Biden emergency paid leave plan is a huge step in the right direction and meets our immediate needs to paid leave right now. A priority should be made over time to pass permanent paid family and medical leave and earned paid sick days. The pandemic makes it painfully clear that we need comprehensive and permanent paid family and medical leave. The pandemic will end, but we know the need for paid family and medical leave and earned sick time will not. Access to these essential earned benefits increase workforce attachment and increase family’s economic security;
  • UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAM. Extend and strengthen the unemployment insurance program, including reauthorizing the $600/week boost established under Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), extend PUA and PEUC, and expand both of these programs by adding more weeks of benefits for workers experiencing long- term unemployment. In addition, the federal government needs to make investments and changes to our existing UI system to modernize it and make sure it is well-funded to support struggling workers in the future.
  • CHILDCARE STABILIZATION FUND. While the $10 billion in CCDBG was a critical downpayment, after months on insufficient aid, it’s critical to prioritize a minimum of $40 billion dedicated to a childcare stabilization fund to stabilize the childcare industry, support and ensure programs don’t close their doors permanently and can reopen, safely meeting all new regulations, and ensure parents, particularly moms, aren’t pushed out of the workforce because of childcare breakdowns. Congress has also provided $1 billion in COVID-19 relief to Head Start. Following the CARES Act inclusion of $750 million for Head Start, a $1.7 billion need remained. Accounting for the most recent $250 million that was included in the December relief package, $1.45 billion in stark, one-time funding is still needed to support our families.
  • INVEST IN OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM. Support reopening schools and campuses safely by providing robust funding to support educators, support staff, students, and families during this pandemic. This includes major investments in our education systems to stabilize education funding, at least $12 billion to equip students with hot spots and devices to help narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap, and direct funding for personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • MSNAP (SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM). Ensure struggling families can access nutritious food during this economic crisis by boosting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) maximum and minimum benefits, rescinding all SNAP rule changes that would time limit, terminate, or weaken benefits and increase funds for school meals and other nutrition programs that are in unprecedented demand;
  • CHILD TAX CREDIT. Laying the groundwork for vital tax improvements with a temporary expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in COVID legislation and then making this tax credit fully available to the 27 million children who are currently denied some or all of the tax credits that higher income people receive and creating a young child bonus for families with children under the age of 6.
  • EITC (EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT). Improve the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to reach more low-income families and stop taxing low-wage workers who are not raising children into poverty. The first step should be to take immediate action to boost the credit and extend the age range to help low-wage workers who are already struggling in the COVID economy. Then, permanent improvements should be made so more working families can benefit from this important working family tax credit. In addition, expanding the EITC to low-wage workers without children in the home, many of whom are still supporting and providing support to children, is important since this is the largest group of adults who are taxed into, or deeper into, poverty every year.
  • REPEAL MILLIONAIRES TAX GIVEAWAY. Repeal the appalling $135 billion Millionaires Tax Giveaway that was included in the CARES Act;
  • DIRECT PAYMENTS. Provide additional direct payments to families, including immigrant families;
  • FUND STATE, LOCAL, TERRITORIAL AND TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS. Support robust funding for state, local, territorial and tribal governments;
  • FEDERAL EVICTION MORATORIUM. Address the urgent health and housing needs of low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness by extending, strengthening, and enforcing the federal eviction moratorium, providing robust funding of at least $30 billion for emergency rental assistance and utility assistance and at least $28 billion for long-term housing vouchers for households with the greatest needs. These critical resources are vital to keep people experiencing homelessness safe and stably housed.
  • COVID-19 VACCINE DISTRIBUTION. Support a scaled-up distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, with the federal government taking on a key leadership role and achieving a goal of 1 million doses a day in the first 100 days. Distribution to as many people as possible, as quickly and as safely possible, is critical but as critical is that the mechanisms for distribution ensure equity and address those at greatest risk first. There have to be real mechanisms to assure that people of color and people with economic barriers to care don’t get left behind, especially given they are infected and dying at higher rates. Trust needs to be garnered for those who are wary of the vaccine through culturally competent tactics to get as many people on board as possible. As the vaccine rollout continues, and hopefully accelerates under new leadership, we will also need to scale up manufacturing of more doses by encouraging no exclusive patents so that more than one company can manufacture without running into patent rights issues. To further ensure a smoother rollout, more aid to state, local, tribal, and territory governments to meet vaccination distribution needs and manage the escalating crisis must be included in any COVID-19 legislation, as well as utilize any available federal resources or personnel to aid in vaccination efforts.
  • HEALTH INSURANCE. Prevent people from losing their employer-sponsored health insurance; create a special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act; provide additional funding for states’ Medicaid programs and home- and community-based services; mandate reports to Congress on the race, ethnicity, and disability status of COVID-19 test recipients, hospitalizations and mortality; prohibit price gouging on consumer goods and services needed for medical treatment; provide essential funding for mental health supports; give aid to Native American communities; and provide additional funding for other urgent health issues like testing, tracing, and treatment;
  • NO-COST TESTING AND TREATMENT. Provide no-cost testing and treatment for all, including immigrant communities, and ensures that testing and treatment for COVID-19 is covered under emergency Medicaid;
  • PRESCRIPTION REFILLS & SUPPLIES. 90-day refills of prescriptions and medical supplies for people with Medicaid, CHIP, and private insurance;
  • WORKER SAFETY. Enhance worker safety by immediately updating OSHA guidance on how to best protect workers from contracting COVID in the workplace, issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to protect all workers from exposure as quickly as possible, and rigorously investigate all claims of unsafe workplaces, using all remedial tools available when violations are found;
  • RELIEF TO ALL FAMILIES AND ESSENTIAL WORKERS. Protect and extend relief to all families and essential workers, including green card holders, DACA recipients, Temporary Protected Status-holders, and the 11 million people in undocumented communities;
  • JUVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION ACT. Provide $75 million for rapid response grants through Title II of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. These funds will help support a variety of services, including testing of young people and staff in facilities and continued access to education and community support for youth returning home, at this time when positive tests in secure settings continue to rise to an alarming degree;
  • REDUCE INCARCERATED PEOPLE. Include measures to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated to minimize the spread and impact of COVID-19 by directing the federal Bureau of Prisons and states to release individuals in jails, prisons, and detention centers who do not pose a public safety risk, such as families held by ICE, pregnant women, elderly people, those housed in pre-trial detention, those held on technical parole or probation violations, and those who are nearing their release date. Provide guidance to states on releasing people from prisons, jails, and detention centers. In addition, include policies that guarantee safe conditions and ensure that transparent plans are in place to address the COVID-19 crisis for incarcerated individuals; and
  • REDIRECT JUSTICE & POLICE FUNDING. Redirect criminal justice and police force funding that is not specifically for COVID-19 health and safety precautions or supporting decarceration to other programs.

“I’ve been out of work since March 13th. The first month was terrible – I went a month without any income, then finally I got accepted for SNAP and that helped with food. Finally, unemployment kicked in and I was able to pay my rent and bills. Without unemployment I’ll be homeless, unable to pay my bills. My industry is still out of work and it’s not looking like we will be going back any time soon. I need this unemployment to keep going. I’m depending on it since it’s all we have.”

– Megan, Lexington, KY

“We have two group family daycares. With the current situation, we really don’t know how we’re gonna make it!! Parents are keeping kids at home.
No one knows how long it’s gonna be like that. We don’t know how we can pay three rents: 1 rent for each daycare, 1 rent for an apartment, where
we live. We also worry about our caregivers: they simply will not have money to buy food. I would love to help them somehow. But we can not
make ends meet! We need some help!”

– Tetiana, New York


For more information, please contact Elyssa Schmier at Elyssa@momsrising.org


Tax cuts for families, not mega-corporations! SIGN NOW!

We are moving full steam ahead to make sure our elected leaders pass universal childcare, paid leave for all, help for struggling families and working people, and create a fairer tax code for women, moms, families, and everyone impacted by structural racism.

But all of that takes $$$. That’s why it’s a perfect time to make sure the wealthy and mega-corporations are paying their fair share!

We need you to speak out and make your voice heard!

***SIGN OUR LETTER calling on President Biden and Congress to make permanent working family tax credits like the EITC and Child Tax Credit and to make sure the wealthy and mega-corporations pay their fair share in taxes!

We have a lot we need to achieve if we want to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build back better. Congress and the White House are hard at work putting together a recovery package now that they passed the excellent American Rescue Plan. But you and I both know it’s not enough to go back to where we were. Even before COVID, women, especially women of color, were set up to fail in our economy due to structural racism and rampant gender discrimination. We can’t ignore the deep structural flaws in our economy and country that made the pandemic disproportionately devastating for moms, women of color and their families, and expect an equitable recovery.  

One area that moms, women, low-income families, and people impacted by structural racism harmed time and time again is our unfair tax code. But how can we make our tax code more equitable and our nation’s economy more successful? First, we need to make permanent the expansions of the EITC and Child Tax Credit we won in the American Rescue Plan.

These changes are a big deal and are a giant reason to celebrate⎯ and will help bring 50% of our nation’s children out of poverty! We need to make these changes permanent! Those improvements made the full Child Tax Credit available to all children except those with families who have the highest incomes (sometimes called making the credit “fully refundable”), increased the Child Tax Credit to $3,600 for families with kids under 6 and $3,000 for families with kids 7-17 (that’s a lot of money!), and made an expanded EITC available to far more low-paid childless workers—the majority of whom are women who are still helping support their families and grandchildren but are taxed into poverty year after year. [1]

This had giant results⎯ just the improvements to the Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan cuts childhood poverty in half! [2] We need to keep that momentum going by making these expansions permanent!

But we can’t stop there! Millionaires, billionaires, and corporations must pay their fair share of taxes. Right now our tax code is penalizing low-income people at the same time the super-wealthy and big corporations are flourishing and working families are struggling with unemployment, lost wages, and the ravages of a public health crisis. 

Rather than cut supports that families turn to when times are tough and boost our nation’s economy, we should raise revenue to invest in our shared success by making the mega-wealthy pay their fair share in taxes. How do we do that? Easy! Congress can start by overturning the terrible Trump Tax Plan which gave away trillions of dollars to the 1% and mega-corporations. We also can pass Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax which would only raise taxes on the 0.05% of highest earners in the country but would net over $3 trillion over ten years, which we could use to create a universal childcare system, build more schools, or help feed and house struggling families. [3] A wealth tax is a wildly popular idea—in fact 3 in 5 Americans support it, including a majority of Republicans! [4]

***Sign our letter now calling on Congress and the White House to rewrite our unfair tax code so everyone can access the programs their families need and the 1% and mega-corporations pay their fair share!

In order to make this happen, we need your help. Please sign this petition, reach out to your member of Congress, and share this action link around to create momentum that builds the political will to do all these important things because we know that this is the real way we build back better and make sure our families have what we need while making sure those who have struggled the most can benefit from a recovered economy. In short, your help is needed in demanding the resources we deserve and need to put us on the path to shared prosperity! (Thank you, in advance, for signing on right now which is a big help!)

Women are the backbone of the economy. We need large-scale public investments in the care infrastructure that makes all other work possible including childcare, paid family and medical leave, a pathway to citizenship for immigrant frontline workers, investments in caregiving options for people with disabilities and aging adults, and permanent expansions of the EITC and Child Tax Credit – to ensure that families can care for their loved ones in times of critical need and that all people who are doing work in the care infrastructure are paid living wages. Women deserve economic security, fair pay, and the opportunity to create a brighter future for ourselves and our families.

But in order to do all of this we need our government to make sure millionaires, billionaires, and mega-corporations—many of whom have seen a windfall during the pandemic—pay their fair share! You heard me right—it’s time to tax the rich to pay for the programs our families and economy so desperately need to fully recover and boost our economy!

Make sure to sign our letter now and after you are done forward this email to your friends and family and ask them to sign as well. We are going to create a huge movement to get these important policies passed to boost our families and our economy!

Thank you for speaking out and making a difference!

 

[1] “American Rescue Plan Act Includes Critical Expansions of Child Tax Credit and EITC.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

[2] “The American Rescue Plan Could Cut Child Poverty Nearly in Half.” The Century Foundation.

[3] “Warren, Jayapal, Boyle, Introduce Ultra-Millionaire Tax on Fortunes Over $50 Million.”

[4] “Warren Revives Wealth Tax, Citing Pandemic Inequalities.” New York Times.

Quick signature to expand health care coverage for kidney patients

Cut-out family with kidney beans as kidneys

When I was 17, I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Twenty-two years later, I’m now facing End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and working to figure out how to balance my declining health while working full-time and being a single mom. I’m incredibly lucky to have flexible work hours and good health insurance—but most people with ESRD are not as fortunate.

Quick signature: Tell Congress to pass legislation to expand health care coverage by moving forward the Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act ASAP! 

What’s happening? March is National Kidney Month—a month to raise awareness about chronic kidney disease which is more common in women in the United States and the ninth leading cause of death. About 15% of the adult population in the U.S. is affected by kidney disease, which is 1 in 7 adults. Further, ESRD disproportionately impacts people in Black, Latinx, and indeginous communities, as well as people with disabilities (and is in and of itself considered a disabling condition). Additionally, almost 10,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. are living with ESRD.

For people with ESRD, their kidneys are beyond repair which means they must regularly access dialysis treatments or receive a transplant and take medications to stay alive—all of which are incredibly expensive. ESRD is non-reversible and fatal without treatment and can impact anyone, at any age. Currently, federal law only requires companies that sell Medicare supplemental (a.k.a. Medigap) policies to sell those plans to people over age 65 without regard to pre-existing conditions. Medigap plans cover the substantial out-of-pocket costs associated with kidney disease and without health care coverage, adults under age 65 have an impossible choice to determine how to access and pay for life-saving treatments for their kidney disease.

But there is a solution! The Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act would require at least one private insurer in each state to carry a supplemental Medigap plan for people under age 65 with end-stage renal disease – for people like me. (Right now, the law requires this option for people over age 65 but not for those of us who are younger.)

Take action: Tell Congress to pass the Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act NOW!

Thank leaders for passing the American Rescue Plan

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President Biden and Vice President Harris

You all.  Something major, historic, and BIG (really big!) happened at the end of last week: Fueled by your calls, petition and letter signatures, stories that you shared, your contacts with members of Congress, posts on social media, and so much more… THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN PASSED!!!  This is a moment of real relief!  Help is on the way!

* It’s not very often that we get to say a big THANK YOU, but now is the time.  

→ Sign on here to our giant electronic THANK YOU note to the Biden/Harris Administration and to the Democratic leadership in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate who made this happen -- and tell them we have their backs to keep making change for families!

(Why say “Thank you”? Because we’re not done with the transformative change we all need; and saying thank you is a key way to help keep the momentum going for permanent, universal, transformative policy change).

We’re also saying, “Thank you!,” because there is A LOT to be thankful for (and even to love) in the American Rescue Plan: 

  • We love the historic investment of $40 billion in childcare that will stabilize the childcare system and also the funds to help safely reopen K-12 schools. 
  • We love the direct support to families, including immigrant families, and to all those facing hunger and teetering on the brink of homelessness. * For instance, there will be $1,400 checks per adult and child, which combined with the recent $600, meets the goal of $2000 in direct payment checks. 
  • We love the fact that it will make vaccines more readily available in equitable ways, especially for vulnerable communities and communities of color.
  • We love that Medicaid coverage for pregnant people can be available for up to 12 months postpartum. We know that pregnant people are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit and with pregnancy-related deaths increasing due to COVID-19, so this is a life-saving expansion.

* Please sign onto our THANK YOU letter to the Biden/Harris Administration here.

MomsRising members made over 230,000 constituent contacts with members of Congress in support of this bill. Why? Because as we know the pandemic is having an outsized impact on women and moms, with women and moms of color experiencing compounded health and economic harms due to structural racism. And we know the American Rescue Plan will be a tremendous help and also a powerful step toward the transformational, permanent, and universal change we all need to lift our economy, our businesses, and our families. 

Families are in a state of emergency. That’s why we are so grateful to President Biden and Vice President Harris, as well as the Democratic leadership in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate for staying the course and getting the American Rescue Plan passed in the first 50 days of the new Congress and Biden/Harris Administration! 

As we send our gratitude, we also know our work isn’t over -- and we love what’s going to come next… IF we raise our voices loud enough, as together we work to find a way to:

  • Put paid leave in place for everyone, always,
  • Build a permanent childcare infrastructure that works for everyone,
  • Make permanent improvements to the EITC and Child Tax Credit,
  • Close the wage gap and make fair fair, 
  • Create a path to citizenship for immigrants,
  • Heed the calls to reimagine what safety looks like by investing in communities in ways, that don’t continue criminalization,
  • And raise the minimum wage.

Thank you for bringing us this far together!

- Amber, Aryan, Beatriz, Beth, Casey, Christina, Claudia, Diarra, Diana, Donna, dream, Elyssa, Felicia, Gloria, Hanna, Jessica, Jordan, Joy, Julia, Karen, Keisha, Kelle, Kristin, Linda, Lisa, Lucrecer, Maggie, Marysol, Monifa, Nadia, Nancy, Nate, Nina, Ruby, Ruth, Sara, Shanette, Sheila, Sili, Sue Anne, Tasmiha, Taylor, Tina, Tola, and Xochitl 

Tell NC lawmakers to expand health coverage!

Use your outside voice for health care!

Exciting news! Under the new American Rescue Plan that passed in Congress last week, North Carolina can now expand health care coverage for low-income adults AND bring an estimated $1.7 billion to our state. This couldn’t have come at a better time, as this has been a long and difficult year without much good news—especially when it comes to our health.

Quick action: Send a letter to your NC lawmakers asking them to expand health care coverage for low-income uninsured adults.

What’s happening? The North Carolina General Assembly has a new opportunity to deliver policy that would benefit all North Carolinians. The latest federal COVID relief bill included federal funding for states that haven’t yet expanded Medicaid coverage—including our state. This incentive covers the full cost of expanding health care to over half a million uninsured North Carolinians AND provides surplus funding for our state to provide other critical services.

There has never been a better deal (or a better time) to make sure that low-income adults in our state have access to the health insurance coverage that they need—especially considering that so many who are uninsured are also working on the frontlines of COVID. We just need our legislators to vote to accept the funding! That’s where you come in.

Can you take a moment to send your NC lawmakers a letter asking them to expand Medicaid?

Your voice is powerful, and making sure that your lawmakers know you support expanding health care coverage is especially important. Our state has had the option of expanding coverage since 2014, but too many lawmakers in our general assembly have opposed this policy change, in large part due to purely political reasons. Findings from 404 studies done since Medicaid expansion began nationwide show that expansion has an overwhelmingly positive effect on health care coverage, access to care, and the overall economic outcomes of the state.

In the middle of a pandemic, with overwhelming evidence that expansion would have a positive impact on the residents of our state, and this new additional funding on the table, North Carolina must seize this opportunity to expand health care coverage for low-income uninsured adults.

Please make your voice heard and send a letter to your NC state lawmakers NOW asking them to expand health care in our state.

MomsRising's Mandate for America

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MomRising's Mandate for America

Download MomsRising's Mandate for America (PDF)


The challenges facing women, and especially mothers and women of color, are more serious right now than they’ve been in years. The data is in and the pandemic is having an outsized impact on women and moms, with women of color experiencing compounded harms due to structural racism. The pandemic has turned the cracks in our systems into catastrophes, exposing just how much families, communities, and our economy depend on the work of women even though that work has long been, and continues to be, vastly undervalued.

With moms and our nation facing unprecedented challenges, we need immediate solutions. The status quo is not sustainable. Moms are trying to keep the jobs that our families and economy depend on and also care for our kids whose child care programs have shuttered and whose schools are operating only virtually. We’re trying to care for our parents, some of whom are terrified to leave their homes. And moms across our nation are trying to make ends meet on budgets that are stretched beyond the breaking point while being disproportionately pushed out of the labor force.

At the same time, women are the majority of workers risking their lives to provide health care, child care, and other essential services while simultaneously being overrepresented in many of the occupations feeling the brunt of COVID-related job losses. Black women, Indigenous women, women of color and immigrants are disproportionately in essential work positions and also vastly overrepresented in fatalities from COVID-19. The pandemic is doing outsized harm to communities of color.

Further, for the first time since 1964—the advent of modern U.S. employment statistics for women—this economic downturn, which began in February 2020, has seen women lose jobs at a higher rate than men, with compounded harms to women of color. For instance, the September 2020 jobs numbers found that 865,000 women were pushed out of the labor force. Compare that to about 216,000 men. Of the 865,000 women who left the workforce in September, 58,000 were Black women and 324,000 were Latinas. LGBTQ+ workers are also experiencing disproportionately high unemployment rates. One study found that 1 in 3 moms may be forced to scale back or leave the jobs their families — and our economy — depend on. Studies show the long-term effects of women being pushed out of the workforce for prolonged periods of time are sobering: We see lifetime wage loss. This is all the more reason that Dr. C. Nicole Mason, CEO of the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, coined the term “she-cession” to describe the COVID economy.

As we rebuild our economy, our policy priorities must reflect the diversity of our nation and the contributions of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, immigrant, and LGBTQ+ communities experiencing the most harm. It is very clear that our economy and country cannot fully recover unless we recognize the contributions and also address needs of women, families and communities of color, especially mothers. We have a tremendous opportunity to put in place policies that not only help our families, communities, and economy recover from this vicious pandemic now, but will also set us up for success in the long-term and protect us from the next pandemic or economic crisis. We can, and we must, build a care infrastructure and a caring economy so families, businesses, and our economy can thrive.

This is why we urge the primary focus in the first 100 days of the new Congress and the Biden Administration to be passing a COVID-relief package, followed quickly by several priority policies that need immediate attention and are detailed in the attached letter.

Caregiving is a key driver of our economy; and yet caregivers are too often left out of solutions. This has got to change. The pandemic has laid bare cracks in our public policies – cracks that will impede recovery and cause real harm to workers, families, businesses, our economy and our country for a generation if they aren’t addressed. We are struggling through the greatest health and economic challenge the country has faced in a century, while also facing an ongoing crisis due to structural racism that must be addressed. There is no time to waste. The moms of America expect our elected leaders to take immediate action to pass the next COVID-19 relief package immediately; and also to take speedy action on the priorities in the document attached to this letter. We appreciate your consideration!

Sincerely,

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director & Co-Founder
Donna Norton, Executive Vice President & Chief Advancement & Strategy Officer
Elyssa Schmier, National Director on Budget & Taxes
Felicia Burnett, National Director, Healthcare
Beatriz Beckford, National Director, Youth & Education Justice
Ruth Martin, Senior Vice President & Chief Workplace Justice Officer
Nina Perez, National Director, Early Learning
Tina Sherman, Campaign Director, Breastfeeding & Paid Leave
Xochitl Oseguara, Vice President, MamásConPoder
Gloria Pan, Vice President Member Engagement, Campaign Innovations & Gun Control

MomsRising Mandate for America

2021 brings new opportunities and formidable challenges. Every elected leader, including President-Elect Biden, needs to know exactly what issues moms across America prioritize, especially during the first 100 days of the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress in 2021; so we can address the unprecedented challenges we face including advancing racial justice, gender justice, and economic justice and building a nation where everyone can thrive. That’s why we at MomsRising created, with our over a million members, the following urgent policy priorities for leaders taking the helm of our nation next year.


Table of Contents 

We have 10 key priorities:

  1. COVID-19 Relief Priorities
  2. Health Care Priorities
  3. Economy, Safety Net, Tax, & Budget Policies Priorities
  4. Criminal Justice Reform, Community Safety & Youth Justice Priorities
  5. Workplace Justice Priorities
  6. Childcare Priorities
  7. Maternal & Reproductive Health Priorities
  8. Immigration Priorities
  9. Gun Safety Priorities
  10. Voting Rights & Democracy Protection Priorities

1. COVID-19 Relief Priorities 

The moms of America urge leaders to immediately pass a comprehensive, robust COVID-relief package that centers the growing racial disparity in COVID-19 morbidity throughout each issue area and lifts families and our economy. Shocking data show Black, Latinx, and Native American people are dying at rates markedly higher than white Americans. Our elected leaders must develop and implement health equity interventions across all components of coronavirus response legislation, collect national health outcomes data by race, and ensure that all new policies urgently address these racial and ethnic disparities.

COVID-19 relief must be enacted immediately and include the following:

  • Congress must include robust paid leave in any COVID-related package. Access to paid leave in the pandemic has been linked to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 by as much as 15,000 new cases per day where people are able to use the leave. Paid leave during the pandemic has prevented countless evictions, hospitalizations, hungry children, and sleepless nights. The last Congress left town without expanding and extending emergency paid leave, putting 31 million parents at risk for losing access to paid childcare leave at the same time the virus is surging and many schools are operating virtually. This new Congress must fix that mistake and act quickly to renew and expand emergency paid leave by passing President Biden’s plan. President Biden’s paid leave plan that will provide 14 weeks of paid sick and family and medical leave to help parents with additional caregiving responsibilities when a child or loved one’s school or care center is closed; for people who have or are caring for people with COVID-19 symptoms, or who are quarantining due to exposure; and for people needing to take time to get the vaccine. The plan also provides paid leave to federal workers and will reimburse employers with less than 500 employees for the cost of this leave and more. This plan will also extend the emergency paid leave benefits until the end of September 2021. While we need a permanent paid leave policy in this county, the Biden emergency paid leave plan is a huge step in the right direction and meets our immediate needs to paid leave right now. A priority should be made over time to pass permanent paid family and medical leave and earned paid sick days. The pandemic makes it painfully clear that we need comprehensive and permanent paid family and medical leave. The pandemic will end, but we know the need for paid family and medical leave and earned sick time will not. Access to these essential earned benefits increase workforce attachment and increase family's economic security;
  • Extend and strengthen the unemployment insurance program, including reauthorizing the $600/week boost established under Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), extend PUA and PEUC, and expand both of these programs by adding more weeks of benefits for workers experiencing long-term unemployment. In addition, the federal government needs to make investments and changes to our existing UI system to modernize it and make sure it is well-funded to support struggling workers in the future.
  • While the $10 billion in CCDBG was a critical downpayment, after months on insufficient aid, it’s critical to prioritize a minimum of $40 billion dedicated to a childcare stabilization fund to stabilize the childcare industry,  support and ensure programs don’t close their doors permanently and can reopen, safely meeting all new regulations, and ensure parents, particularly moms, aren't pushed out of the workforce because of childcare breakdowns. Congress has also provided $1 billion in COVID-19 relief to Head Start. Following the CARES Act inclusion of $750 million for Head Start, a $1.7 billion need remained. Accounting for the most recent $250 million that was included in the December  relief package, $1.45 billion in stark, one-time funding is still needed to support our families.
  • Support reopening schools and campuses safely by providing robust funding to support educators, support staff, students, and families during this pandemic. This includes major investments in our education systems to stabilize education funding, at least $12 billion to equip students with hot spots and devices to help narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap, and direct funding for personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Ensure struggling families can access nutritious food during this economic crisis by boosting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) maximum and minimum benefits, rescinding all SNAP rule changes that would time limit, terminate, or weaken benefits and increase funds for school meals and other nutrition programs that are in unprecedented demand;
  • Laying the groundwork for vital tax improvements with a temporary expansion of the  Child Tax Credit (CTC) in COVID legislation and then making this tax credit fully available to the 27 million children who are currently denied some or all of the tax credits that higher income people receive and creating a young child bonus for families with children under the age of 6.
  • Improve the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to reach more low-income families and stop taxing low-wage workers who are not raising children into poverty. The first step should be to take immediate action to boost the credit and extend the age range to help low-wage workers who are already struggling in the COVID economy. Then, permanent improvements should be made so more working families can benefit from this important working family tax credit. In addition, expanding the EITC to low-wage workers without children in the home, many of whom are still supporting and providing support to children,  is important since this is the largest group of adults who are taxed into, or deeper into, poverty every year.
  • Repeal the appalling $135 billion Millionaires Tax Giveaway that was included in the CARES Act;
  • Provide additional direct payments to families, including immigrant families;
  • Support robust funding for state, local, territorial and tribal governments;
  • Address the urgent health and housing needs of low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness by extending, strengthening, and enforcing the federal eviction moratorium, providing robust funding of at least $30 billion for emergency rental assistance and utility assistance and at least $28 billion for long-term housing vouchers for households with the greatest needs. These critical resources are vital to keep people experiencing homelessness safe and stably housed.
  • Support a scaled-up distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, with the federal government taking on a key leadership role and achieving a goal of 1 million doses a day in the first 100 days. Distribution to as many people as possible, as quickly and as safely possible, is critical but as critical is that the mechanisms for distribution ensure equity and address those at greatest risk first. There have to be real mechanisms to assure that people of color and people with economic barriers to care don’t get left behind, especially given they are infected and dying at higher rates. Trust needs to be garnered for those who are wary of the vaccine through culturally competent tactics to get as many people on board as possible. As the vaccine rollout continues, and hopefully accelerates under new leadership, we will also need to scale up manufacturing of more doses by encouraging no exclusive patents so that more than one company can manufacture without running into patent rights issues. To further ensure a smoother rollout, more aid to state, local, tribal, and territory governments to meet vaccination distribution needs and manage the escalating crisis must be included in any COVID-19 legislation, as well as utilize any available federal resources or personnel to aid in vaccination efforts.
  • Prevent people from losing their employer-sponsored health insurance; create a special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act; provide additional funding for states’ Medicaid programs and home- and community-based services; mandate reports to Congress on the race, ethnicity, and disability status of COVID-19 test recipients, hospitalizations and mortality; prohibit price gouging on consumer goods and services needed for medical treatment; provide essential funding for mental health supports; give aid to Native American communities; and provide additional funding for other urgent health issues like testing, tracing, and treatment;
  • Provide no-cost testing and treatment for all, including immigrant communities, and ensures that testing and treatment for COVID-19 is covered under emergency Medicaid;
  • 90-day refills of prescriptions and medical supplies for people with Medicaid, CHIP, and private insurance;
  • Enhance worker safety by immediately updating OSHA guidance on how to best protect workers from contracting COVID in the workplace, issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to protect all workers from exposure as quickly as possible, and rigorously investigate all claims of unsafe workplaces, using all remedial tools available when violations are found;
  • Protect and extend relief to all families and essential workers, including green card holders, DACA recipients, Temporary Protected Status-holders, and the 11 million people in undocumented communities;
  • Provide $75 million for rapid response grants through Title II of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. These funds will help support a variety of services, including testing of young people and staff in facilities and continued access to education and community support for youth returning home, at this time when positive tests in secure settings continue to rise to an alarming degree;
  • Include measures to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated to minimize the spread and impact of COVID-19 by directing the federal Bureau of Prisons and states to release individuals in jails, prisons, and detention centers who do not pose a public safety risk, such as families held by ICE, pregnant women, elderly people, those housed in pre-trial detention, those held on technical parole or probation violations, and those who are nearing their release date. Provide guidance to states on releasing people from prisons, jails, and detention centers. In addition, include policies that guarantee safe conditions and ensure that transparent plans are in place to address the COVID-19 crisis for incarcerated individuals; and
  • Redirect criminal justice and police force funding that is not specifically for COVID-19 health and safety precautions or supporting decarceration to other programs.

STORY:                                                          

“I’ve been out of work since March 13th. The first month was terrible-- I went a month without any income, then finally I got accepted for SNAP and that helped with food. Finally, unemployment kicked in and I was able to pay my rent and bills. Without unemployment I’ll be homeless, unable to pay my bills.My industry is still out of work and it's not looking like we will be going back any time soon. I need this unemployment to keep going. I’m depending on it since it’s all we have.” -Megan, Lexington, KY 

“We have two group family daycares. With the current situation, we really don’t know how we’re gonna make it!! Parents are keeping kids at home. No one knows how long it’s gonna be like that. We don’t know how we can pay three rents: 1 rent for each daycare, 1 rent for an apartment, where we live. We also worry about our caregivers: they simply will not have money to buy food. I would love to help them somehow. But we can not make ends meet! We need some help!”-Tetiana, New York

2. Health Care Priorities 

The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Health Care Platform outlined below:

BELIEVE health care is a right – not a privilege and should be accessible to everyone in our country regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, or socioeconomic status.

ENSURE that every woman, child, and family has access to quality, affordable health care coverage.

SUPPORT policies that will further the goal of reaching universal, quality health care coverage for every family by:

  • Withdrawing immediately from the Trump Administration-supported lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act and restore portions of the ACA which were undermined or weakened by the previous administration.
  • Ensuring a strong Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which provide health care coverage for more than half of our nation’s children and are essential to our nation’s health and well-being, including permanently authorizing CHIP through the CHIP CARING for Kids Act.
  • Opposing proposals that arbitrarily cut Medicaid or CHIP, make structural changes to the programs which would create barriers to access, and shift a fiscal burden to the states.
  • Protecting the improvements and gains in coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which has brought the percentage of uninsured people in the United States to a record low, eliminated harmful practices by insurance companies like annual or lifetime caps on coverage and discrimination based on preexisting conditions, and required the 10 essential health benefits to be covered in insurance plans – including maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health care. Oppose all efforts to invalidate, repeal, or replace the ACA with a less robust plan that would result in a larger number of uninsured people in the United States.
  • Ensuring that every woman and family has access to quality, affordable health care coverage regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration or socioeconomic status through publicly funded health care coverage.
  • Reining in health care costs for the economic security of our families, our communities, and our nation by making access to care and medicines affordable and putting the public good ahead of corporate profit.
  • Passing H.R. 3 – The Lower Drug Costs Now Act – to rein in the skyrocketing prices of prescription medicines and ensure that everyone has access to the medicine they need to treat illness and improve their health.
  • Supporting home and community-based systems by:
    • Adding $450 billion of new funding to Medicaid’s Home and Community-based Services (HCBS) as a downpayment towards building a durable and universal home and community-based services. Additional funding can aid in clearing the Medicaid wait lists for home care, assist people in moving from congregant settings back into their homes and communities, among others;
    • Conditioning the federal Medicaid funding to states to the creation of strong infrastructure to enhance access to home care services and care for aging adults and people with disabilities and raising job quality (wages, benefits, access to training and career pathways) for home care workers, including providing them better opportunities to join together in a union or worker organization;
    • Requiring states to develop a transparent process for workers, their union or worker organization representatives, consumers, and employers to have a voice and input on pay rates under Medicaid and standard setting more broadly;
    • Creating a home care worker pipeline through legalization of qualified undocumented home care workers to help address the care gap and create a robust care worker pipeline.
  • Restore the Affordable Care Act’s non-discrimination 1557 regulations to prevent discrimination by providers who may have religious or personal objections to treating patients seeking abortion care or who are LGBTQ+. Additionally, the new administration should reverse other policies championed by the Trump Administration which expanded religious conscience protections to the detriment of patient care.

QUOTE:

“My daughter was born with Schizencephaly, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, she’s legally blind, non-verbal, uses a wheelchair, and has a feeding tube. Her medications, feeding supplies, and medical equipment/ supplies cost thousands every month. Her feeding supplies alone cost almost $2,000, of which private insurance only covers a small portion. If she loses coverage and Medicaid is cut, she will die. There is no way anyone could afford the cost of her medical care, especially a family of five living on one income.” – Stephanie, Ohio 

3. Economy, Safety Net, Tax, & Budget Priorities 

The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Economy, Safety Net, Tax, and Budget Platform outlined below:

BELIEVE families deserve to have the certainty of protection and support through our social safety net, taxes, and national budget.

ENSURE that our safety nets are strong and well-funded, and our tax and budget policies support families, especially working families and struggling families, as well as a strong economy.

SUPPORT policies that will further the goal of creating a budget and tax system that works for all families by:

  • Making investments in the safety net to lift women, families, and the economy by protecting and robustly funding social safety net programs like Medicaid, WIC, SNAP, free and reduced-priced school meals, and childcare assistance that boost low- and moderate-income families; raising revenue by requiring the richest Americans and big corporations to pay their fair share of taxes and create a tax code that is reflective of gender and racial equity; and cutting wasteful spending, including at the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security and in police budgets.
  • Protecting vital anti-poverty programs like SNAP and Medicaid, which should be free of barriers to access, including drug-testing and additional work requirements.
  • Ensuring the national budget reflects and boosts women, people of color, families, and our economy. More than just protecting vital health care, education, nutrition, childcare, and housing programs, elected officials must also invest more in critical programs to guarantee that struggling families and our economy are supported. Choosing this time to cut programs unnecessarily in the name of controlling spending and deficits will only serve to prolong the pain of this recession and slow-down any economic recovery.
  • Advancing tax improvements. This includes laying the groundwork for temporary improvements to the  Child Tax Credit (CTC) in COVID legislation and then making this tax credit fully available to the 27 million children who are currently denied some or all of the tax credits that higher income people receive and creating a young child bonus for families with children under the age of 6.
  • Improving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to reach more low-income families and stop taxing low-wage workers who are not raising children into poverty. The first step should be to take immediate action to boost the credit and extend the age range to help low-wage workers who are already struggling in the COVID economy. Then, permanent improvements should be made so more working families can benefit from this important working family tax credit. In addition, expanding the EITC to low-wage workers without children in the home, many of whom are still supporting and providing support to children,  is important since this is the largest group of adults who are taxed into, or deeper into, poverty every year.
  • Extend the recently enacted “look back provision” for another year in order to give families the flexibility to use recent earnings to avert a significant drop in their credits. The “look back provision” allows struggling families filing taxes to be able to use either the pre-pandemic (2019) or pandemic year earning to calculate their EITC and CTC and is commonly used when people are hit by natural disasters and will allow families experiencing unexpected and detrimental changes in income to access this vital working family tax credit.
  • Ensuring access to healthy food and nutrition for all kids in schools. Ensure that all children are able to access free- and- reduced priced meals in school and childcare settings that are free of barriers and cost, including virtual school settings. Ensure parents and families can make healthy choices by limiting the presence of marketing in schools, child-directed advertising, and more. Promote a healthy school day through robust implementation and protection of achievements including healthy school meals and snacks, and wellness policies.
  • Ensure pregnant women, moms, infants, and toddlers get the proper nutrition they need and a healthy start at life by making sure WIC is well-funded and scientifically-based. To guarantee this, lawmakers should enhance access to WIC by loosening burdensome physical presence requirements and making permanent COVID-related flexibilities that allow for phone or video appointments, as well as, strengthen efforts to advance a nationwide solution for WIC online purchasing.
  • Ensuring all kids and families have access to safe and accessible drinking water through investments in infrastructure, testing, and remediation efforts.

QUOTE:  ‘I am a separated but married mother with two children. I work full time for a good company that provides excellent benefits. But with the rising prices of insurance, food, gas etc I am struggling to support my children. I also attend college full time to get my degree so that I can prayfully receive a promotion and better financially support my family. My oldest son is in the 3rd grade so I do not have to pay for lunch because we qualify for the free lunch program. But my youngest son is still in childcare so that takes a nice chunk out of my check. We rely on SNAP to help with our food costs. - Manetric, Indianapolis, IN

“Being a single parent the EITC and Child Tax Credit has really helped us to make it through the year, as it allows me to buy clothes and healthy food for my child and anything she needs throughout the year and also allows us to see family, which we hadn’t been able to, had we not had the EITC and the Child Tax Credit. It’s been so helpful when I have received a tax refund back on child care. All of it has made a huge difference in our lives and [given us] a much better life. I am really thankful for it.-Jeanette, Altamont, New York 

4.  Criminal Justice Reform, Community Safety & Youth Justice Priorities

The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Criminal Justice Reform & Youth Justice Platform outlined below:

BELIEVE reforming our criminal justice system is critical to the health of our families and communities.

ENSURE that policies are supportive rather than punitive, just rather than discriminatory, keeping families and our economy as a whole.

SUPPORT policies that support families and communities and dismantle an unjust, punitive, and destructive system by:

  • Ending mass incarceration. One million women, mostly mothers, are under criminal justice supervision in the United States and hundreds of thousands of women are currently incarcerated. Two-thirds of the women in federal prisons are serving time for challenges related to nonviolent drug abuse. They need treatment and counseling, not incarceration. Our justice system is failing families, hurting our economy, and in need of some serious reforms. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world, which is nothing to brag about. In fact, we are living at a time when more than 2.7 million children in the United States have an incarcerated parent, and approximately 10 million children have experienced parental incarceration at some point in their lives. Harsh sentencing practices have done more harm than good. Strict penalties designed to combat the distribution of illegal drugs have done little to stem the drug trade; instead, the result has been a massive sweep of people experiencing challenges related to drug addiction into an ever-expanding criminal justice system that directly fractures families and hurts our economy. We urge leaders to release as many people as safely possible from prisons, jails, and detention centers—act on sentencing reform and end mandatory minimums.
  • Advocating for police reform. No family should have to suffer from their loved ones being injured or killed by guns, especially at the hands of those charged with protecting them. More than 900 people were killed by police in 2016. Studies show that, even though white Americans outnumber Black Americans fivefold, Black people are three times more likely than white people to be killed when they encounter the police in the United States, and Black teenagers are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than white teenagers. Strategies include:
    • A fully resourced and rigorous civil rights and criminal investigation by the DOJ into discriminatory policing, excessive force, and death or injury by police in every state in the country.
    • A comprehensive, streamlined, public national-level database of police shootings excessive force and misconduct complaints, traffic and pedestrian stops, and arrests, broken down by race and other demographic data, with key privacy protections, the exclusion of personally identifying factors and information, and deportation immunity for civilians.
    • Mandating of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) commissions in every state and interstate coordination between all POSTs.
    • An executive order that creates a strong and enforceable prohibition on police brutality and discriminatory policing based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, and housing status.
    • Limit federal funding for police departments that demonstrate abuse of power, and move forward massive reinvestment in community-controlled and -based safety practices.
    • Support for enactment of the End Racial Profiling Act.
    • Streamlined national use of force matrix and mandating that state and local police have clear and streamlined matrices.
    • Limits on asset seizure without due process and the transfer of any military equipment to local law enforcement under the 1033 program, guidelines that ensure that the equipment is not used on nonviolent protesters, and an end to the requirement that such military weaponry is used within a year.
  • Advancing key elements of the BREATHE Act immediately: A bill that divests our taxpayer dollars from brutal and discriminatory policing and invests in a new vision of public safety:
    • Divest federal resources from incarceration and policing;
    • Invest in new, non-punitive, non-carceral approaches to community safety that lead states to shrink their criminal-legal systems and center the protection of Black lives—including Black mothers, Black trans people, and Black women;
    • Allocate new money to build healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities; and,
    • Enhance the self-determination of all Black communities.
  • Repealing & Replacing the 1994 Crime Bill. At the time of its passage, numerous leaders in Congress, civil rights experts, community activists, and criminal justice experts understood that the 94 Crime Bill was harmful and deeply flawed. Today, advocates, organizers, and even elected officials who had previously supported the Bill recognize the need to remedy the damage that has been done. The 1994 Crime bill should be repealed and replaced with a bill that:
    • Directs resources into communities harmed by mass incarceration
    • Revises federal sentencing laws and incentivizes shifts in state and local sentencing laws and budgeting
    • Directs resources for education, housing, and employment to people who are formerly incarcerated
    • Eliminates federal private prisons and detention centers
    • Ends the federal death penalty
    • Dismantles the school-to-prison pipeline by directing resources from police in schools to counseling, after-school programming, youth jobs, and meal programs
  • Advancing sentencing and bail reform work at the state and municipal levels. Significantly decrease pretrial detention by ending the cash bail system and racially biased risk assessment programs. End the pretrial detention of pregnant women. Reform drug policy using a public health framework and end mandatory minimums.
  • Supporting the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act. Improve the treatment of incarcerated women by addressing how inmates interact with their children during incarceration; allowing formerly incarcerated mentors to assist inmates with re-entry; and mandating that inmates have access to a greater range of health care products and in sufficient quantities.
  • Ending the school-to-prison pipeline and advancing model school codes. End out-of-school suspensions and promote restorative justice. Integrate social-emotional learning. Adopt discipline policies aimed at dignity in schools with a focus on:
    • Understanding and addressing the causes of behavior.
    • Resolving conflicts and repairing the harm done.
    • Restoring relationships.
    • Reintegrating students into the school community.
  • Ending the regular presence of law enforcement including armed guards inside schools and increasing the number of counselors inside schools.
  • Expanding access to critical support staff and services for students, including nurses, social workers, counselors and school psychologists.
  • Implementing and reauthorizing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Recommendations for the reauthorization of the ESSA include:
    • Mandatory data collection on school discipline from all schools, Accountability mechanisms for addressing discipline and implementing best practices in the lowest-performing schools.
    • Funding for restorative justice practices and school-wide positive behavior supports.
    • Parental involvement in developing school discipline codes.
    • Requiring states to describe how they will reduce suspensions, expulsions, referrals to law enforcement, and other actions that remove students from instruction.
    • Funding competitive grants for school partnerships with community-based organizations.
  • Support legislation that ends the criminalization of students in schools and invest federal funds to replace police in schools with school psychologists, social workers, and other staff to help support mental health and provide trauma-informed services.  Prohibit the use of federal funds from being used to hire, train, and keep law enforcement and armed guards in schools.
  • Pass the Counseling Not Criminalization Act
  • Raising the Age. Move policies forward so that juveniles can’t be charged as adults and incarcerated through age 21.
  • Fully Implement and Reauthorize the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)
  • Fully and robustly implement the reauthorized JJDPA at $176m for Titles 2 & 5, including issuing guidance on the four core protections, technical assistance and support to states and helping non-participating states rejoin the Act.
  • Reduce youth incarceration by investing $100m in state and local efforts to close and repurpose youth prisons for non-carceral purposes

5. Workplace Justice Priorities

The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Workplace Justice Platform outlined below:

BELIEVE workplace justice is critical to the health of our families and economy.

ENSURE that all working families have access to policies that help families thrive.

SUPPORT policies that will further the goal of creating workplaces that support workers, their families, and the economy by:

  • Advocating for a nationwide, comprehensive, and sustainably funded paid family and medical leave program. We need a national program that covers all working people, for a minimum of twelve weeks of job-protected paid family and medical leave they can use to care for a newly arrived child, or when they or a loved one needs time away from work to deal with a serious medical condition. This proposal must provide a reasonable wage replacement, with higher levels of wage replacement for lower-wage workers, and include a broad definition of the kinds of family relationships permitted for family caregiving. Finally, this system must be sustainably funded without harming other critical programs.
  • Protecting pregnant people in the workforce. It’s time to require employers to make the same sorts of reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions that they already make for disabilities, ensuring pregnant women can continue to do their jobs and support their families. These accommodations are simple things like being able to sit down or having a water bottle on shift.
  • Supporting breastfeeding mothers. Congress must support public policies to help normalize and minimize the barriers that many breastfeeding mothers face. Policies that ensure all employees have reasonable break time to express milk in a private, non-bathroom location, for at least one year after the child’s birth and make sure public buildings provide lactation rooms that are hygienic are necessary.
  • Advancing earned paid sick days. Allow workers to earn paid sick days each year to be used to recover from their own illnesses, access preventive care, provide care to a sick family member, or attend school meetings related to a child’s health condition or disability.
  • Supporting efforts to ensure working people won’t be penalized by scheduling abuses. Congress should curb abusive scheduling practices and give working people the right to request schedule predictability and flexibility.
  • Expanding the unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. The FMLA was an important start, but the law has significant gaps and needs updating to increase working people’s ability to use coverage.
  • Modernizing paid leave for the military. Issue directives to the Department of Defense (DOD) and urge Congress to modernize paid leave for the military by equalizing the duration of leave and making it mandatory for mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents and work with Congress to expand paid leave for DOD personnel to include family caregiving as well.
  • Protecting against retaliation for discussing salaries with colleagues. To increase pay transparency, allow workers to discuss salaries and wages with each other.
  • Promoting bans on salary history requirements.  Work to ensure that employers are barred from requiring job candidates to disclose previous salary histories, which contributes to the wage gap over time.
  • Raising the federal minimum wage and including tipped workers. Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour or higher for all minimum wage workers, including tipped workers and workers with disabilities, and index the minimum wage to match the growth in the national median wage.
  • Auditing salary reviews for gender bias. The administration and Congress should conduct their own agency reviews and audits of salaries to ensure that gender bias is being rooted out and eliminated and continue to highlight, as models, private companies that are doing the same.
  • Raising the overtime threshold. Raising the overtime threshold so more people receive overtime pay for working extra hours, in addition to benefiting families, is likely to strengthen the economy overall. A higher overtime threshold could lead employers to hire more employees or increase the hours of part-time workers. To the extent that more workers receive overtime pay, these increased earnings could lead to increased consumer spending and stronger economic growth.
  • Expanding the Fair Labor Standards Act to cover all workers, including domestic workers and farm workers at the federal level.
  • Strengthening the care workforce: Transformation of care jobs into good jobs is an essential part of a durable and equitable care infrastructure. Care workers across the care economy must be compensated with family-sustaining wages and benefits, access to training, certification, and career pathways, and a choice to join a union or other worker organizations. For undocumented care workers, legal status by a way of path to citizenship is also key to making their jobs into good jobs. Structural inequities of racism and sexism in our economy and our society have relegated far too many care workers, the vast majority of whom are women and disproportionately women of color and immigrants  to be undervalued and underpaid. By finally prioritizing the investment in this overlooked workforce, the Administration and Congress can create millions of family-sustaining jobs, opening up a path for workers and their families to enter the middle class.
  • Establish consistent and explicit anti-discrimination employment protections for LGBTQ+ moms and people, in addition to anti-discimination protections in housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.
  • Passing the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights:  The new Administration should provide leadership and work with Congress to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. It is the first comprehensive national legislation to transform domestic work jobs into good jobs. This bill would end current legal exclusions of domestic workers from federal workplace protections, create new rights and benefits to address the unique conditions of domestic work, and invest in implementation and enforcement to make workplace rights real and to deliver economic security. The new protections the bill creates include fair scheduling, written agreements on the terms and conditions of employment, privacy rights, stronger anti-retaliation protections, and meal and rest breaks. The bill also advances innovative policy to engage and empower domestic workers through an establishment of a transparent multi-stakeholder standards board.

QUOTE:

“In the past 18 months my family has dealt with the sudden illness and death of my father and the arrival of my second child. I used saved vacation time to be with my father but after his death I only had two paid days to compose myself. Having used up all the saved vacation time I had, maternity leave with my new baby was only six weeks. This situation was not only difficult for me, my four year old also suffered because I was not able to be home to help her adjust to the quick changes in her family structure.”

– Laura, Pennsylvania

6. Childcare Priorities 

The moms of America urge leaders to address the crisis of childcare in America. In the first 100 days it’s critical that we stabilize the childcare system while laying the foundation to ensure comprehensive and equitable childcare for all is guaranteed in the future. This includes:

  • Continuing to prioritize comprehensive pandemic relief. The $10 billion that was part of the December COVID package is a hugely critical first step for families and providers who are struggling, but falls far short of the at least $40 billion the sector needs in relief funding overall. In addition, $1.45 billion for Head Start and explicit support for state preschool programs as part of investments in K-12 systems, as well as state, local, territory, and tribal fiscal aid is needed to secure and support our early education and care infrastructure.
  • Workplace protections for parents to ensure no job loss because of lack of childcare and to leverage relief funding to eliminate additional fees and cost burdens for families.
  • A comprehensive, federally funded child care system such as the Child Care for Working Families Act and the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act

The moms of America further urge leaders to truly stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Childcare Platform outlined below:

BELIEVE that all children deserve affordable, high-quality early learning opportunities to be ready and successful for school and life regardless of race, gender, zip code, ability, identity, immigration status or any other factor.

ENSURE parents and caregivers have a meaningful choice of safe, enriching care options for their children while they work or attend school; that children have safe, enriching early education and care so they can thrive; and that the workforce has sustainable, fair wages.

BUILD a gold standard high-quality, affordable childcare plan that:

  • Recognizes and honors the important role of self-defined families in the lives of children.
  • Creates universal access to affordable, high-quality early learning opportunities for children from birth to school age.
  • Ensures families pay no more than 7% of their household income on childcare (through a sliding scale) regardless of how many children they have.
  • Supports parents having a meaningful choice in care providers that meet their family’s needs – whether that be a center or family childcare home, friend, relative, or neighbor; and provides easy to access to information on programs including quality, standards, and key components in one place for families to evaluate program options that meet their needs.
  • Provides for a diverse, well-trained, and fairly compensated workforce that reflects the children and families they serve, and supports positive and consistent interactions between caregivers, parents, and children with adequate paid time for professional development and alternative pathways to certification.
  • Puts an end to childcare deserts with long waiting lists and disruptions in continuity of care by ensuring every neighborhood has high-quality childcare with enriching programming, with appropriate ratios, outdoor areas for safe play, and access to nutritious food and snacks.
  • Includes flexible, hourly drop-in, and wider coverage options for working families with evening, weekend, and overnight care needs.
  • Focuses on the whole child with attention to social-emotional development.
  • Honors and supports home culture and language.
  • Authentically engages and partners with families and meets the needs of each family to meaningfully engage in their child’s care and education.
  • Eliminates and sets forth alternatives to punitive and biased disciplinary practices like the use of suspensions, and expulsions, restraint, and seclusion.
  • Leads with an equity framework by integrating training and support on trauma-informed care, early intervention and services for children with disabilities, supporting dual language learners.
  • Builds relationships with families that centers gender affirming, anti-bias, and anti-racist professional development and curriculum in order to best support the needs of all children and families.

QUOTE:

“As a working mother, my family’s bills are high: there are student loans, there are groceries, there are utilities, there’s housing, and there is childcare. At a cost of $1,170 a month, childcare is a major out-of-pocket expense for my family. Even then, I’m lucky; my five-year-old spends most of the day in her public kindergarten, which is free; her monthly childcare costs are only the $270 I pay for aftercare. And the $900 I spend on my two-year-old’s care is less than half what I paid for her when she was still one. For infants in Washington, D.C., full-day childcare costs an average of nearly $2,000 a month." –Joan, Washington, DC

7. Reproductive & Maternal Health Care Priorities

The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Reproductive & Maternal Health Care Platform outlined below. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to work tirelessly to save the lives of birthing and pregnant moms:         

BELIEVE access to quality, affordable health care coverage that includes comprehensive reproductive and maternal health care coverage is essential to the health of our families and communities.

ENSURE that all people have access to quality, affordable reproductive and maternal health care coverage.

PRIORITIZE the health and well being of pregnant and birthing moms during COVID-19 by ensuring full support during labor, prioritizing pregnant people for testing, not automatically assuming that an infant of a pregnant woman who presents symptoms (but has not tested) is positive, minimizing instances of separation of babies and moms after birth,  supporting shared decision making between parents and health care providers when mom and/or baby test positive, and promoting skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding.

SUPPORT policies that recognize that protecting a woman’s right to make decisions about her health care and universalizing access to comprehensive health care is a human right by:

  • Fighting for quality, affordable reproductive health care. Ensure that every woman and family has access to quality, affordable health care coverage that includes comprehensive reproductive health care coverage, including for birth control and abortion care.
  • Continuing to fund Planned Parenthood. Defunding Planned Parenthood would cut off health care – including birth control, cancer screenings, and other essential health services – for millions of low-income women, many of whom have no other health care provider.
  • Advancing measures to improve maternal health. The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths during labor and delivery of  any nation in the developed world. Black women suffer the most with a maternal mortality rate four times that of white women.
  • Supporting legislation that addresses our nation’s maternal health crisis. The Black Maternal Health MOMNIBUS Act of 2020 (H.R. 6142/S. 3424), , Social Determinants for Moms (H.R. 6132), Kira Johnson Act (H.R. 6144), Protecting Moms Who Served Act  (H.R. 6141), Perinatal Workforce Act (H.R. 6164), Data to Save Moms Act (H.R. 6165), Moms MATTER Act (H.R. 6143), Justice for Incarcerated Moms Act (H.R. 6129), Tech to Save Moms Act: (H.R. 6138), IMPACT to Save Moms Act (H.R. 6137)  are important steps toward prioritizing maternal mortality and morbidity in our nation.
  • Supporting legislation to protect abortion rights and continuing to advocate for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, a harmful bill that restricts government funds from being used to cover abortion—except in extremely limited circumstances—essentially ensuring that low-income women (and people of all gender identities) can’t access the same rights to safe, legal abortion as the rest of the population. The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act would eliminate federal coverage restrictions on abortion services, such as Hyde’s ban on coverage for Medicaid enrollees, and protect insurance providers from interference with their decision to cover abortion. Studies show that when policymakers place restrictions on Medicaid coverage of abortion, it forces one in four poor women to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. Discriminatory restrictions on insurance coverage do not belong in our public policy. The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) assures the right to access abortion care free from bans, obstacles, and medically unnecessary restrictions not required for similar health care services. These restrictions have severely reduced and even eliminated abortion access in large swaths of the country, creating a patchwork of access to care in the United States. WHPA would take crucial steps to protect essential reproductive health care and the constitutional rights of all people, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), young people, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, immigrant, and/or low income communities, everywhere.
  • Promoting equitable access to health care services before, during, and after pregnancy. Resist dismantling of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid and expand access to health care. Support the expansion of Medicaid to all states and extend Medicaid to at least one year postpartum for those who have given birth. Prioritize increasing the federal matching rate, to facilitate states’ adoption of a coverage extension opportunity..Promote the demand for transparency and data collection relating to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Promoting health equity and antiracism measures throughout the health care delivery system. Ensure equal access to best practices and shared plans for childbirth emergencies for all doctors and hospitals, along with training.

QUOTE:

“I had a C-section and the whole time I was there I could just tell that I didn’t feel well. They had me on antibiotics and didn’t tell me why. I didn’t know why it was necessary. So the day of discharge, I kept telling my nurses that I didn’t feel good. They said well all my vital signs were good and that I was ready to go home. I got home with my newborn and my then 8-year old son went to sleep [and I] woke up in the middle of the night sweating [with] chills. It felt like it was a full-blown fever. I had to call my mom who lives very far away to come pick up my children so I can call the ambulance. so I had to wait until she got there, which was an hour, to call an ambulance. I came to find out I had an infection in my C-section -- something that I knew already in my heart before I left. Now I’m pregnant with my fourth child and I somehow ended up at the same hospital. I am very scared and I will discuss this with my doctor.“ – Tiffany, Newark, NJ

8. Immigration Priorities

The moms of America urge leaders to stand with all families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Immigration Platform outlined below:

BELIEVE that all families living in the United States, no matter their nationality, have the opportunity  to contribute to our culture and economy.

ENSURE the fair and humane treatment of all immigrant families.

SUPPORT common-sense and humane immigration policies by:

  • Creating a fair, efficient, and humane immigration policy that recognizes the contributions of women’s paid and unpaid work. Protecting those immigrant workers from exploitation and workplace retaliation in the form of deportation.
  • Creating a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million new Americans who have lived their lives in the United States, including as DREAMers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and qualifying farmworkers and other essential workers. 
  • Protecting family unity by creating pathways that allow for mixed-status families to stay together legally in this country, without fear of separation.
  • Ending the separation of families and protecting children. Provide clear protections for children’s basic rights, safety, and well-being, including government-funded legal counsel and advocates for children in immigration proceedings. Immediately end the harmful practices of family detention, protect parental rights, ensure due process, and increase alternatives to detention.
  • Advancing policies and programs that keep families together, such as implementing administrative relief options to allow parents to live and work legally in the United States, halting deportations of parents, and reforming the family-based immigration system to address the backlogs and reunite more families.
  • Restoring the rights of asylum seekers and honoring the right of due process. Ensure that immigrants are afforded true due process and a fair day in Immigration Court, including access to free, high quality legal representation.
  • Engaging in oversight. Congress must engage in aggressive oversight of immigration enforcement agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, ICE, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and restrict funding for agencies responsible for human rights violations.
  • Offering equal opportunity to immigrant women. Provide equal employment-based migration opportunities and workplace protections so that immigrant women can safely pursue economic opportunity.
  • Ending programs and policies that discourage reporting crimes to law enforcement. Advance protections and expand programs like the Violence Against Women Act and U visas, which are set aside for victims of crime, women fleeing state and interpersonal violence, and victims of trafficking or exploitation.
  • Ensuring that immigrants and their children have access to the services and supports all people need to thrive, including health care, nutrition, and other critical programs and income supports.
  • Ending the use of private prisons and for-profit immigrant detention centers.

First 100 days administrative actions to undo the harm of the Trump Administration:

  1. Reinstate DACA  and Redesignate TPS: Rescind the DHS memorandums that stripped protections for immigrants eligible for DACA.  Protect TPS holders by re-designating TPS countries with TPS terminations and extensions.
  2. Rescind Immigrant Wealth Test: Reverse the Public Charge policy that deters immigrants from seeking the health care, nutrition, housing, and basic needs programs for which they are eligible,  and makes it very difficult for low- and moderate-income families to immigrate
  3. Repeal Race and Religion-Based Bans: Repeal the bans that prevent individuals from Muslim-majority countries and refugees from entering the United States simply because of their religion or the color of their skin. Ensure immigration discrimination, based on race or religion, is prohibited for future administrations.
  4. Halt Destructive Enforcement Practices: Issue a one-year moratorium on all immigration enforcement, including but not limited to worksite raids and I-9 enforcement. Restructure DHS and ICE away from immigration enforcement.
  5. Protect Private Data: Reinforce and educate the public on existing privacy laws, regulations, and guidance documents governing immigrants’ personal information. Develop policies to terminate data sharing and data collection contracts with for-profit companies. 

QUOTE:

“I was a 28-year-old pregnant mother of three who was married to a US citizen. I was detained during an immigration proceeding, and spent over four weeks at Otay Mesa detention center in San Diego, California. My condition was inhumane, unnecessary, and put my life, and pregnancy at risk. I fear miscarrying due to a lack of access to the prenatal care I needed.” - Maria, California

9. Gun Safety Priorities 

The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Gun Safety Platform outlined below:

BELIEVE that all families have the right to live in safe communities free of the gun violence epidemic, which has killed more Americans than all our wars combined.

ENSURE our nation advances gun safety, community safety, women’s safety, and responsible gun ownership.

BUILD wholesale cultural and policy reform that advances gun safety measures by:

  • Advancing universal background checks on firearms sales, which up to 97% of Americans support, including gun owners.
  • Banning military-grade assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, the weapons-of-choice for mass shooters that pose a significant threat to law enforcement.
  • Advancing a strong federal anti–gun trafficking law with stiff penalties to discourage straw purchasing, which is the most common channel for illegal gun trafficking.
  • Investing in evidence-based community anti-violence programs that have proven to significantly reduce gun violence in highly impacted communities.
  • Rolling back Stand Your Ground laws, which facilitate racial profiling and casual gun culture, and are a huge step backward for civil rights.
  • Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, closing the “boyfriend loophole” that allows stalkers and abusive dating partners to access firearms.Supporting extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) that allow family members and law enforcement, with a court order, to temporarily deny firearms access to people at risk of physical harm to themselves or others.
  • Reversing  the transfer of jurisdiction over international arms sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department, whose sole purpose is to increase international sales of American products. At State, such transfers were treated as national security issues.
  • #DisarmHate –  Prohibiting individuals who have been convicted of hate crimes, including misdemeanors, from accessing firearms.
  • Investing in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for more streamlined and comprehensive record collection.

QUOTE:

“I was 25 years old and studying to be a veterinarian when I got the worst call of my life – my aunt Shelley has been shot to death in a downtown courthouse by a distant family member. Domestic violence takes many forms and family violence is stigmatized and rarely discussed. Everyone knew this person would hurt someone but there were no laws in place to protect my aunt Shelley. The shooter utilized the gunshow loophole, stalked and threatened Shelley for months, and killed her.” – Rachael Joseph is a MomsRising member and founder and executive director of Survivors Lead 

10. Voting Rights & Democracy Protection Priorities

The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Voting Rights & Democracy Protection Platform outlined below:

BELIEVE our right to vote is essential to our communities’ and our nation’s health.

ENSURE that every vote is counted and that there is no place for voter suppression.

SUPPORT policies that will further the goal of restoring voting rights and protecting the integrity of our democracy by:

  • Restoring the Voting Rights Act, streamlining voter registration, and ensuring nationwide early voting. Reforming campaign financing and donation disclosure rules to curb the corrupting power of dark money in our elections and ensure our democracy really works for the people.
  • Curbing extreme gerrymandering by requiring states to use independent redistricting commissions to draw Congressional districts.
  • Improving election security by replacing paperless voting machines and providing new grants for states to enhance election security measures.
  • Strengthening ethics rules for the Executive Branch, Congress, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Supporting HR1, the For the People Act, to reinforce the foundations of our democracy and advance comprehensive democracy reform by getting big money out of politics, making voting simpler, and holding elected officials accountable for corruption.

Download MomsRising's Mandate for America (PDF)


Top #5Actions of the Past Week: Friday, April 2, 2021

We’ll get right to it! This week’s 5Actions include ways to learn more about new benefits available to YOU and your family (including the new direct payments related to children in the Child Tax Credit) due to the recent passage of the American Rescue Act (ARP) at a special online event with Speaker Pelosi! Below, you’ll also find ways to make your voice heard as we work to stop gun violence, as well as ways to help build a care infrastructure that enables parents to work and creates good care jobs.

Lots to do! Thank you for doing it with us!

-- Sue Anne, Kristin, Nate, Gloria, Joy, Elyssa, and the rest of the MomsRising / MamásConPoder Team

 

 

ARP event

 

What’s in the American Rescue Plan for Your Family?

Want to find out how to get the new benefits available to YOU and your family due to the recent passage of the American Rescue Act (ARP)? We've got you covered! When you join us, you’ll hear from a very special guest, the U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Some of our nation’s foremost advocates and experts for women and families will also be joining us to help cover how to access the new benefits (including direct cash to your family!) that just recently passed in the American Rescue Plan.

Join us for this important virtual online event. Click here to save your spot.

 

 

 

 

 

Send a Letter to the Editor saying "Families need recovery now!"

Members of Congress are home over the next two weeks for recess and one of the most high-impact ways we can get their attention is to flood our local newspaper with letters on the issues that matter most to our families. We need to let our elected leaders know that they must make sure we can all recover—especially women, moms, and communities of color who have been bearing the brunt of COVID’s impact. And that in order to build back better we will need long-term investments that lift working families and our economy. That's why we need YOU to take action now!

One of the most high-impact, powerful things you can do right now is send a letter to the editor to your local paper calling on your elected leaders to pass a recovery package that includes programs that lift up women, moms, and struggling families and makes investments in the care economy. It's very easy and we'll walk you through all the steps… all you have to do is click here.

 

 

 

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SIGN NOW! Tax cuts for working families, not mega-corporations

Time and time again moms, women, low-income families, and people impacted by structural racism have been harmed by our unfair tax code. But how can we make our tax code more equitable and our nation’s economy more successful? First, we need to make permanent the expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit we won in the American Rescue Plan.Then we need to make sure leaders in Congress pass policies that make millionaires, billionaires, and mega-corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

***SIGN OUR LETTER calling on President Biden and Congress to make permanent working family tax credits like the EITC and Child Tax Credit and to make sure the wealthy and mega-corporations pay their fair share in taxes!

 

 

 


Help Save Lives!

The mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder again prove that Americans can no longer wait for action against gun violence. The U.S. House recently passed gun legislation to tighten up background checks on gun sales, and now it’s up to the U.S. Senate to turn it into law. It’s time to save lives. Our families and communities deserve to be free and safe from gun violence.

Donate today to fuel our fight for sensible gun policy.

 

 

 

Send a kite message

 

What’s a Kite Message? Send one to your U.S. Senators!

Help us tell your U.S. Senators that #CareCantWait. Helping is super EASY (and super fun!) -- here’s how:

STEP 1: Download and print the kite coloring page -- or get any piece of paper you have handy at home and draw a simple kite on it -- color it (or have your kids color it), and add a personal message urging your U.S Senator to hurry up and pass a recovery plan with care infrastructure provisions for families and our economy, naming any of the following issues you care about:

  • Universal childcare
  • National paid leave for all
  • Raise the minimum wage
  • Permanent enhancements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit
  • Investments in caregiving options for people with disabilities and aging adults
  • Pathway to citizenship for immigrant workers who have been crucial in combating the pandemic

STEP 2: Take a picture of your completed Kite Message and post it on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) with the hashtag #CareCantWait to join a wave of change. And, if you’re NOT on social media, just email us a picture of your kite to KeepMarching@MomsRising.org with #CareCantWait in the Subject line of the email!

Download a blank Kite Message by clicking here.

 

 

P.S.– We are gathering stories about the positive impact of the American Rescue Plan. We want to hear from YOU about how your family is being (or will be) boosted by this new law. Click here to tell us about it -> we'll share your experiences directly with policy makers and leaders!

 

 

The Rise of College Student Hunger & Homelessness

Kia Downer's picture

Being in the midst of a pandemic, I like to reflect back on my time as a young student on the campus of North Carolina State University. Only a few years ago, I was one of the 36,000+ students that would cross the bricks of the Brickyard, venture into the libraries on main & centennial campus, and ride along on the Wolfline. I have many fond memories and experiences from my time there and still find ways to come back to campus from time to time and see all the progress and changes. However, I recently found out about a survey conducted by Drs. Mary Haskett & John Dorris (survey results and research can be read here) that took a look at the experiences of current students in October 2020, to evaluate how the pandemic has impacted them. It is astonishing to see that 15% of students have experienced homelessness since the pandemic began. That is a staggering number of potentially 5000+ students and it is alarming to know that the places that students are forced to stay, i.e. unsafe buildings, outside, in cars, etc. that can endanger their safety. 

In addition to the students experiencing homelessness, 25% of students surveyed have experienced food insecurity within a 30-day period. I have to repeat that again, 25%!!! Statistically, 1 out of 4 students that cross the campus of N.C. State, which is 9,000+ students are not receiving the resources they need to ensure they have a meal, are eating enough to sufficiently maintain their health, and overall mental well-being. All of these factors can contribute to a decline in the overall well-being of the student and can impact them in many areas of their life, long-term and short-term, that includes (but not limited to)  their education and learning ability.

During my time on campus, I remember seeing students sleeping on a park bench, a hammock, on couches in common areas, and on bean bags in the library. Seeing this data of homelessness, I now consider that the students I viewed in these areas statistically could have been homeless and it pains me that I did not recognize it then. As I know and recognize this information now, I feel it is imperative to assist these students in giving them the safety and common necessities that should be available to all of us as humans. I also recall during my time as a student, my fellow classmates having to decide when they could eat based on if they had a meal plan or if they did not have one, having to manage their food carefully. From my own experience, I had a meal plan for my first three semesters before canceling it due to it being too expensive to keep. I am grateful that there is an on-campus food pantry, meal scholarship program, and meal swipe donation program, but these programs are not enough resources to sustain the volume of students in need. Students have enough on their plate as it is trying to navigate obtaining their degree and securing a job position that will enable them to earn income for a living. To add on top of this, experiencing homelessness and hunger does not set the students up for as much success as possible. I am a proud alumna of this great university and being a top tier one, I know there's more that can be done to help the students out. I encourage my Alma Mater to view these statistics and bring about more change to aid in reducing these percentages.