Joe Biden

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Women and Family Advocates Applaud House Passage of Build Back Better Act

November 22, 2021

Following the House passage of the Build Back Better Act, women and family leaders applauded the Build Back Better Act's generational investments in the economy for working people, which will support women's employment and strengthen family economic security.

The Build Back Better Act will deliver major investments in the care economy to support both care workers, who are disproportionately women of color, and women in the workforce more broadly. It will transform the lives of millions of children, saving parents thousands of dollars, and adding two years of free, universal schooling to our education system for the first time in over 100 years.

As Nobel Prize-winning economists and independent ratings agencies have confirmed, the Build Back Better Act is fully paid for, will reduce the deficit, and will ease inflationary pressures by making the wealthiest individuals and corporations pay their fair share and stopping them from cheating on their tax bills.

A broad coalition of women and family leaders across the country are applauding the passage of the historic legislation through the House and urging the Senate to take urgent action so President Biden can sign it into law and ensure we build back better.

See below for what they are saying:

Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, National Women's Law Center: "With this vote, Congress brings tens of millions of women, families, and caregivers closer to a future where their work and sacrifice are truly valued and rewarded. The bill passed today includes historic investments in child care and home and community-based services, affordable housing, the establishment of universal pre-kindergarten, birthing justice, comprehensive paid family and medical leave, and the expanded Child Tax Credit–all paid for by making the ultra-wealthy and large corporations pay a fairer share in taxes–and long-overdue prescription drug pricing reform. This new future for women is generations in the making, and the Senate should immediately take action to make these life-changing investments in working families a reality." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance: "Women of color have mobilized, advocated, organized and voted to help make this historic moment of progress possible. Today's vote brings us one step closer to realizing a future where America's home care workers, the majority of whom are women of color, receive a family-sustaining wage and those who need care—veterans, older people, and people with disabilities—will be able to receive quality, affordable care services at home. Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer have steadfastly spotlighted the essential roles that caregivers and care workers play in our families and economy. The Senate's quick passage of this historic legislation with all three pillars of the care economy—including home- and community-based services, child care, and paid family medical leave—will enable us to start building the care infrastructure our families and economy need. We're also glad that protections for millions in our immigrant community, including domestic workers, are included. Immigration protections are absolutely essential for truly meaningful change." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director and CEO, MomsRising: "America's moms, parents, and caregivers have long been sounding the alarm -- and reaching out to members of Congress -- about the urgent need to build a care infrastructure to lift families, businesses, and our economy. We are celebrating the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Build Back Better Act. We thank every lawmaker who voted for it and commend Speaker Pelosi and the House leaders who worked incredibly hard to win passage of this vitally important measure, which will make it possible for moms, families, businesses, and our economy to thrive. We look forward to the U.S. Senate quickly passing Build Back Better and to President Biden signing it into law. When the President signs, working people will finally have four weeks of paid family/medical leave, child care bills will be cut in half for most families, free pre-school will be open to every three- and four-year old, 35 million families will receive the fully refundable Child Tax Credit, access to high-quality home care will be expanded for older Americans and people with disabilities, measures to address racial health disparities and end the Black maternal health crisis will be put in place, health care access will be improved and prescription drug prices reduced, millions of good jobs will be created, wages lifted for care workers, and lasting protections finally put in place for immigrants." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Alexis McGill Johnson, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
"Today's vote in the House is a historic step toward promoting health equity and expanding access to sexual and reproductive health care. The investments in maternal health, closing the Medicaid coverage gap, and establishing paid family leave, among many other important investments, will make a tangible improvement in the health and lives of Americans. Build Back Better will particularly and positively affect people of color, people with low incomes, and people who live in rural areas — the same people who face tremendous barriers to affordable and accessible health care. The Senate must immediately take this package up so we can build back better for the American people." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Sarah Rittling, Executive Director, First Years Fund: Today, our nation is one step closer to a sweeping investment in early learning that will transform the lives of children and families for the better. It's no coincidence that this package has early care and education at its core; America only works with quality child care, and this legislation would ensure parents who want or need to work are never again held back by the high cost or woefully inadequate supply of early learning options—empowering parents to choose the provider and setting they think is best for their children. By fairly and adequately compensating early educators for the extraordinary work they do, we can create a thriving system of care that supports children's healthy development and prepares them for success in school, with ample options to meet the unique needs of families, regardless of what state they call home. We are immensely grateful to so many leaders on Capitol Hill for their efforts to secure this vital investment. Now, we call on the Senate to act quickly and pass this bill into law. With every day that passes, America's child care market moves ever closer to collapse, and families can't afford to wait for this crisis to be solved." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Marcela Howell, President & CEO In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda: "Black women, femmes, girls and gender-expansive individuals will benefit greatly from the Build Back Better plan before Congress. The bill contains key advances that will support Black families and communities, including the biggest expansion of affordable health care coverage in a decade. The framework outlined by the president will reduce health insurance premiums for more than 9 million people, by extending the expanded Premium Tax Credit. It also will deliver health care coverage to up to 4 million uninsured people, in states that have locked them out of Medicaid. Older people will have expanded access to affordable health care through an expansion of Medicare. The president's plan also will offer vital support to working families, with universal and free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-old children. That's the largest expansion of universal and free education since states and communities across the country established public high school 100 years ago." [Statement, 11/20/21]

Dawn Huckelbridge, Executive Director, Paid Leave for All: "Today's vote in the House brings us another step closer to passing America's first national and comprehensive paid leave policy. Paid family and medical leave is a policy that will unite us, keep us healthy and keep us working, and it will support every family in America. Paid leave is one of the most widely supported policies in the country and there is no lasting recovery or Building Back Better without it." [Statement,11/19/21]

Dr. Jamila Taylor, Director of Health Care Reform and Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation: "Today, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act, which includes historic investments in maternal health that would take significant steps toward addressing our country's maternal health crisis, impacting the lives of millions of women and birthing people, particularly Black women and other women of color who have been disproportionately affected by the crisis. The legislation proposes funding for Medicaid coverage up to one year postpartum, which would help eliminate disparities in maternal health, particularly for Black and Indigenous women and birthing people, who are more likely to be covered by Medicaid while pregnant. Ensuring access to health care during the sensitive postpartum period will literally save lives." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Matthew Melmed, Executive Director, Zero To Three: "Every day, millions of parents are forced to make impossible decisions about caring for and supporting their babies. Today, Congress took a large step toward establishing the supports parents and caregivers need to help their children thrive, now and into the future. Today, we have within reach the opportunity to finally build the quality child care system that our babies and toddlers need to support their early development. Parents who have long struggled to afford care will have access to affordable options, and providers will receive the wages their critical work deserves. The expanded Child Tax Credit – our single greatest tool against child poverty – will continue, changing the life trajectory of millions of young children. After decades of leaving families of color behind, these policies will establish equitable supports to ensure all children have what they need to grow up healthy, both physically and emotionally. [Statement, 11/19/21]

Sherry Leiwant, Co-Founder & Co-President of A Better Balance: "We applaud today's House passage of the Build Back Better Act. With four weeks of paid family and medical leave that will cover all workers, as well as important investments and support for our childcare infrastructure and home-based care services, this package represents a bold set of policies that will provide critical relief and a permanent safety net for workers across the country who are struggling to maintain their health, care for their loved ones, and maintain their economic security. The inclusion of paid leave in this package was hard-fought. We cannot build back better—or build back at all—without a national paid family and medical leave program that supports all workers, especially women, who need time to care for a new child, a seriously ill family member, or their own serious illness." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Shaunna Thomas, Executive Director of UltraViolet: "The Build Back Better Act was passed by the House because of the many advocates and activists, including UltraViolet's 1.2 million members, who stopped at nothing until Congress proposed a robust recovery plan to assist the millions whose lives were upended by the pandemic. The Build Back Better Act is a historic investment in America's future that finally begins to meet the needs and demands of millions of women, especially women of color. As the pandemic continues, women continue to be forced out of their paid jobs at record numbers. That's why our focus on care, paid leave, and healthcare in this bill is especially important. We also know that women and children bear the costs of climate change and its impacts on our communities. The dual investments in care and climate will help lift these burdens and set us on a better, more socially and economically sustainable path as a nation. When women thrive, our nation thrives." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Mini Timmaraju, President, NARAL Pro-Choice: "Ensuring paid leave and addressing inequities in maternal healthcare is core to reproductive freedom—they are essential to creating a world where each of us has the freedom to make the best decisions for our families and futures. I know firsthand the importance of paid leave and the critical impact it has on working families. Paid leave helped to ensure that I had the time I needed to care for my growing family. As our country recovers from an unprecedented public health and economic crisis, investments in our care economy are more important than ever. No family should ever have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves and their loved ones." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF): "This is a step forward for the countless number of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) families living in multigenerational, immigrant households, providing care and economic support to their children, elderly parents and extended family members. AAPI women are overrepresented in the low wage workforce, struggling to make ends meet. With the historic investments in this bill, more women will finally have the opportunity to start supporting themselves and their families with the dignity they deserve." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Julie Kashen, Director of Women's Economic Justice, The Century Foundation: "Today, we celebrate taking a historic step closer to building the care foundation that children, families and communities have long needed to thrive—the House of Representatives voted to pass the Build Back Better Act, which includes transformative investments in children and early education. The legislation includes provisions that would save a typical family up $5,000 to $6,500 a year in child care expenses, raise the wages of early educators, who are often women of color and who are underpaid for their critical work, and provide the resources to guarantee safe and nurturing child care options for millions of children. Universal preschool would finally be available for three- and four-year olds and parents will have the choice to find the right program for their family in center-based, home-based, family-based, school, and Head Start programs. The paid family and medical leave policy in the bill would make it easier to work, parent, and care for loved ones who face medical crises without risking a job or paycheck. These investments would be critical for families, but especially for moms, who have long borne the brunt of child care responsibilities. Millions of moms still out of the workforce would be able to return to work, and others could increase their hours and earnings with access to more affordable child care. I commend the House for their work on this critical piece of legislation and urge the Senate to quickly pass it so that moms, families, children, and communities across the nation see the benefits." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, Chief Executive Officer, Power to Decide: "For many years, the health care system has disproportionately harmed people who already face systemic barriers to access health care including people of color, people living in rural areas and those working to make ends meet. The provisions of this bill that address maternal health disparities and advance birth equity are steps in the right direction to address the systemic barriers pregnant people of color face. By expanding health insurance coverage and affordability more people will gain access to the reproductive health care they deserve. We urge the U.S. Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act in order to ensure that everyone has the ability to access the health care they deserve so they can live life on their own terms." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Black Mamas Matter Alliance: "The House passed the #BuildBackBetterAct which includes key #Momnibus investments and extends postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to one year! Together, these investments will serve as a significant step towards in expanding the Black perinatal health workforce pipeline and help to address systemic inequities in maternal healthcare. We are one step closer to #BBB being signed into law!" [Tweet, 11/19/21]

Mamatoto Village: "Today the House passed the #BuildBackBetterAct including EVERY eligible provision of the #Momnibus and yearlong postpartum Medicaid coverage in every state. We know that arriving at this historic moment is thanks to the work of the Black womxn and birthing people who have led us to understand and respond with care and dignity." [Tweet, 11/19/21]

Jordan Brooks, Executive Director, United State of Women: "This is the power of our movement! The House just passed the #BuildBackBetter Act with HISTORIC investments in paid leave, caregiving, the Child Tax Credit, universal pre-K and home care. The care infrastructure policies alone will be a game-changer." [Tweet, 11/19/21]

Christy Gleason, Vice President of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns Save the Children: "It cannot be said enough: this historic investment in our nation's children and families is urgently needed. COVID-19 shed light on – and exacerbated – pre-existing issues severely affecting America's kids and families, and they can't wait any longer to get the relief they need. Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network – together with their hundreds of thousands of grassroots advocates nationwide, many of whom are parents, teachers and child care providers themselves – have campaigned tirelessly for early education, child care and child nutrition to be prioritized in the Build Back Better Act. Once passed, this legislation would expand access to high-quality and affordable child care for up to 20 million children, provide 6 million children with the opportunity to attend pre-K, expand access to school meals for nearly 9 million children and help an estimated 21 million children who need food during the summer months." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Elisha Rhodes, Interim CEO YWCA: "Women – particularly women of color – are key to any hope of our nation recovering following the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, YWCA applauds the House of Representatives for taking action and investing in our needs, priorities, and concerns by investing historic sums in child care and paid family and medical leave. If maintained and passed into law, these provisions have the potential to provide long-term economic investments that will directly benefit the women, families, and communities we serve and for that, we are grateful. Now, we call on the Senate to take immediate action to protect or enhance the critical care economy programs identified in the Build Back Better Act. Every day the Senate fails to make these investments in American families is another day a child isn't able to access the care they deserve or a new mother is forced to decide whether she must return to work early after giving birth to provide for her family. In the days ahead, YWCA will remain steadfast and focused on ensuring these programs become law and are quickly implemented so women and families can thrive. We look forward to working with you to make these goals a reality." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Blythe Thomas, Initiative Director, 1000 Days: "On behalf of 1,000 Days, I would like to applaud today's House passage of the Build Back Better Act, which brings us one step closer to a healthier future for families in the 1,000-day window everywhere. This historic bill is a once in a generation investment in children and families, including transformational initiatives to advance health equity, climate justice, food security, and economic prosperity for working families. From permanent CHIP authorization to closing the Medicaid coverage gap, the Build Back Better Act will dramatically expand access to affordable health care for American families. The bill also makes significant investments in programs to address the vast racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes in the United States, including several provisions of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus and an extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage. Investments in doulas, initiatives to expand the diversity of the perinatal workforce, and programs to address social determinants of health are critically important steps in improving health outcomes for birthing people of color and their families." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Marsha Basloe, President, The Child Care Services Association: "The Child Care Services Association and its T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center applauds the passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of the Build Back Better legislation. Our work supports the importance of providing parents with affordable, accessible, and high-quality early childhood programs by providing the critical need for financial support and counseling for early childhood educators to advance on a career pathway that leads to quality teaching practices and that provides early childhood educators with improved compensation. For too long, parents have not had that assistance, early childhood providers have not been fairly compensated and given the resources to provide high quality experiences, and early childhood educators have been some of the lowest paid professionals in our country. Together with the health, economic, nutrition, and workforce development support, the child care and preschool investments will create a historic transformation for children's development and learning. Children, families, and early childhood educators have waited too long for this opportunity. We call on the U.S. Senate to quickly pass this legislation." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Monifa Bandele, Interim Chief Executive Officer and President, Time's UP: "The pandemic has pushed women — especially Black, Brown and immigrant women — to the brink. It exacerbated the ongoing care crisis women have been facing for decades. In the past year, millions of women have been forced out of the labor market as women-dominated industries were hit the hardest by the pandemic, while caregiving needs at home increased. The critical investments in Build Back Better will lay the groundwork for an equitable recovery from the pandemic by building the care infrastructure that women, families, and our economy need to thrive." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Lynette M. Fraga, Chief Executive Officer of Child Care Aware of America: "Today we are one step closer to making an accessible, affordable child care system a reality for families and children across the country. To the Representatives that voted to advance the Build Back Better Act – thank you. High-quality child care and preschool support the well-being and economic security of our children, families and communities. Our future as a country – both immediate and long-term – requires a path forward towards a more equitable system of early learning that has robust support. The Build Back Better Act would put us on that path by investing long-term to make high-quality child care affordable and accessible for millions of families and ensure universal preschool is available for all 3- and 4-year-old children." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Lanette Dumas, Executive Director, National Association for Family Child Care: "In our 40-year history as an organization, Build Back Better is the most significant piece of federal legislation for child care. Thank you to the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives for seeing the strengths of family child care and seeking to create an opportunity like nothing we have ever seen before: a chance to invest significant dollars in better approaches so that families and the child care workforce can thrive. Family child care programs are a critical component of the child care industry and we are thrilled to be recognized in federal legislation that acknowledges our impact on early childhood education. By supporting families and investing in the people providing child care at the same time, the country will finally move to a system that works for everyone who needs it. Investing in family child care homes, child care centers, Head Start and through an equitable, mixed-delivery system will make it possible for us to reach every child counting on us." [Statement, 11/19/21]

Joseph R. Biden, WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Women and Family Advocates Applaud House Passage of Build Back Better Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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