Budget Reconciliation Package Misses Care Investments, Undermines Families and Economy
In response to the announcement of the latest budget reconciliation package the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” the Care Can’t Wait Coalition issued the following statement:
“As a coalition we applaud and acknowledge the advances included in the recently announced ‘Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.’ The components of the bill that lower drug prices, continue Affordable Care Act subsidies and begin to address climate change have historic significance and value. However, the fact that negotiations came to a close on a bill meant to support struggling families without addressing care, is deeply unfortunate and shortsighted.
“Reconciliation—allowing a simple majority of the United States Senate to enact legislation—represented the single most promising path for meeting our nation’s caregiving needs. That the final package leaves out child care, paid leave, and home and community based services is an absolute tragedy for tens of millions of families and undermines the health of our economy.
“If Senators’ main concern is helping families deal with rising costs, nothing could be more urgent than assistance with the prohibitive cost of care–both for the families utilizing services and the workers who are providing them. In more ways than one, the failure to include care investments is damaging toward the goal of controlling living costs without causing mass unemployment. Addressing family care needs lowers families’ out-of-pocket costs, directly creates jobs in local communities, maintains income, and empowers family caregivers to maintain or secure jobs. In turn, expanding the share of Americans working would further help reduce costs families face across the board.
“It is also a huge missed opportunity to invest and transform jobs in women-dominated industries, and help women hold onto their jobs. Direct care workers are almost 90 percent women, childcare workers are 95 percent women, and care workers overall are disproportionately women of color. It is far past time that our elected leaders treat these workers with the dignity and respect that they deserve and recognize these jobs as the backbones of our communities.
“There is simply no compelling rationale for the lack of care investments in this package. These are unquestionably popular initiatives that are proven to strengthen families and boost the economy. We will not give up until the United States of America helps every family ensure quality care for themselves and their loved ones.
“The fight goes on: In August, care workers, those who receive care and family caregivers around the country, will be gathering to remind legislators the true cost to families of not having a care infrastructure in this country.”