A day before President Biden’s speech to a joint session of Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), Chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee announced the release of the Building an Economy for Families Act (and here). The legislation would provide paid family and medical leave, expanded child care, and improvements in tax credits, including the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Specifically:
- Up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for all workers, available through a new public program administered by the Treasury Department.
- Guaranteed access to child care with enough funding to assure that it is available, affordable, and high quality, while increasing the child care workforce wages.
- Changes in the tax code including making the CTC fully refundable and payable monthly. It would pay at the same level as the current one-year expansion of the CTC adopted in March $3,000 for children 6-17 and $3,600 for younger children. It also includes an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for workers without dependents.
A section-by-section description of the Neal legislation is here. You can read the CWLA Legislative Agenda and Hot Topics here. All three areas are key priorities for CWLA.
CWLA’s support for expanded child care dates back to the provision of child care during World War II. In the publication Memorandum, released in May 1945, we called for continued child care funding despite the end of World War II, “The time has come for such planning in the federal government as will facilitate the development of day care of a quality consistent with American standards of child welfare.”
Family and medical leave has also been a long-time issue for CWLA. We call for a major expansion in the 2021 agenda, and in 1989 Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) addressed another CWLA National Conference in support of (the ABC Child Care bill) and the Family and Medical Leave Act—legislation we endorsed that did become law with the first Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.