Democrats are pushing President Joe Biden’s near $2 trillion infrastructure package as a way to revitalize the economy but the bill also includes paid family and medical leave.
House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal pledged in a letter to Democratic members of the committee that paid family and medical leave would be included in the infrastructure bill, as first reported by Politico.
“Both our failing physical infrastructure and the impossible choices we impose on caregivers put our nation at a competitive disadvantage,” Neal wrote. “If it is the road that gets you to work, it is the child care that gets you through the day, and workers are counting on these supports.”
“Strengthening our care economy will align closely with President Biden’s American Family Plan that he is set to unveil in the coming weeks, but the urgency of this necessitates that we begin our work now.”
“We will give every worker the right to paid family and medical leave, whether it’s because they’ve just welcomed a new child into their family, they have a loved one in need of care, or they are dealing with their own medical issue,” he added. “Americans are counting on us to not only make jobs available at the end of this tunnel, but to vastly improve their working conditions.”
Biden campaigned for 12 weeks on paid family and medical leave for all, noting that “workers of color disproportionately lack access to paid leave of any kind.” (RELATED: Climate Experts Say Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Filled With ‘Wasteful Spending’ On Green Agenda)
More than 400 organizations have called on Biden to include paid family leave in his infrastructure package.
“Paid leave is one of the voters’ top recovery priorities and key to a race and gender equitable economy,” a full-page ad in The Washington Post read recently, according to Axios. “We need it now and we need it permanently.”
The bill is jam packed with items seemingly unrelated to actual infrastructure. At least $600 billion is reserved for infrastructure improvements like motorways, ports and public transit. But the White House Fact Sheet shows there is significant funding available for technological development to address climate change and “long-standing and persistent racial injustice.”