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Groups push Biden to go big on investments in 'care infrastructure'

Groups push Biden to go big on investments in 'care infrastructure'
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A coalition of groups is urging the White House and Congress to invest in “care infrastructure” by including paid family leave, a permanent expansion of the child tax credit and other provisions in President BidenJoe BidenCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Manchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Overnight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE’s expansive jobs package.

More than 50 groups have signed on to a letter to Biden urging him to back the investments, arguing they will help women, for whom the coronavirus-induced recession has been especially harmful, as well as bolster overall economic growth by creating jobs.

“Making overdue public investments in our care infrastructure isn’t just good for women, it’s a critical part of the country’s economic recovery. Robust investment in the care sector would create millions of new jobs for the women hit hardest by this crisis, generate hundreds of billions in new economic activity, and allow millions of women who have been pushed out of the labor force to return to their own careers,” states the letter, which was obtained exclusively by The Hill. 

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“As Congress prepares to make landmark investments in physical infrastructure and digital infrastructure, they must recognize that care is also a vital part of our nation’s infrastructure, and the engine that keeps our economy going,” it continues.

Some of what the groups are seeking is already included in Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure and climate package that he unveiled at the end of last month. Included in Biden’s plan specifically is $400 billion in funding to expand access to long-term care services under Medicaid so that more people can receive home care. 

The new letter asks for investments in child care and long-term support services for the elderly and people with disabilities; a federal paid family and medical leave program; permanent expansions of the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the child tax credit; investments in care jobs to ensure family-sustaining wages and benefits; and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented care workers.

Both the EITC and child tax credit were temporarily enhanced in Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that became law in March. 

The letter cites a report from Time’s Up Now, one of the signatories, finding that investing $77.5 billion annually in child care, residential care and home health care would support more than 2 million new jobs. 

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A version of the letter will also run as a full-page advertisement in The New York Times on Tuesday.

The letter was organized by Invest in America, a liberal group pushing for a robust infrastructure package, alongside Care Can’t Wait, a coalition of care groups that was launched in recent weeks. 

It has more than 50 signatories from a broad range of organizations including labor, progressive, care and women’s groups. The signatories include the SEIU, Indivisible, MomsRising, Voices for Progress and many others.

“The fact that these groups are coming together is really a sign of the times and the sign of the moment that we are in to really address all these issues in a comprehensive way,” said Nicole Jorwic, senior director of The Arc of the United States, a group that signed on to the letter that advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Jorwic said she and other advocates are encouraged by the funding already proposed in Biden’s infrastructure package.

“We feel very confident that this package is going to stay large,” she said.

The push comes as Biden prepares for negotiations with Congress on his infrastructure proposal as lawmakers return to Washington this week following an April recess. Biden will meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Monday, the White House says. The president has made clear he is open to compromise and change in his proposal. However, at this stage, it appears highly unlikely that Democrats will be able to get Republican support to pass an infrastructure package, meaning they will need to resort to budget reconciliation to pass a bill.

Republicans have criticized Biden’s plan for including more than traditional infrastructure, such as provisions to tackle climate change, and for proposing a corporate tax hike to 28 percent.

Biden is also expected to unveil a families package that includes measures addressing child care and health care in the coming weeks, which is seen as a companion to his infrastructure proposal.