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Published on April 09, 2024
President Biden Touts Advances in American Care Agenda, Counters GOP Budget CutsSource: Google Street View

In a major address today, President Biden spotlighted his administration's strides in improving care for Americans, juxtaposing his agenda with GOP proposals. According to a White House statement, key advances include more affordable child care, support for family caregivers, enhanced compensation for care workers, and wider care options. Amidst Care Workers Recognition Month, Biden outlined plans to augment this progress — all financed by increased taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations.

The Biden administration's care agenda responds to the burdensome costs of child care and long-term care which have soared significantly. Child care rates alone have hiked 26% in the past decade, and a staggering 200% over 30 years. Care workers, often women of color, face low pay and high turnover despite the demanding nature of their jobs. Furthermore, family caregivers, numbering at least 53 million, contend with insufficient support and resources according to the White House.

President Biden's budget suggests ambitious investments: affordable, high-quality child care and universal preschool for the nation’s 4-year-olds. It also seeks to renew the expanded Child Tax Credit, which would drastically reduce childhood poverty and afford tax relief for numerous low- and middle-income families. On the long-term care front, the President aims to expand Medicaid services to assist more older adults and people with disabilities to receive in-home care, plus substantial support for family caregivers of veterans.

The package also pushes for a national, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, through the Social Security Administration. Currently, a mere 24% of workers enjoy paid family leave via employers, and this disconnect disproportionately affects women, and workers of color, 94 percent of whom lack employer-provided paid family leave.

Actions to date under the Biden-Harris administration encompass a $39 billion relief fund for child care in the American Rescue Plan, improvements in Medicaid services, and increased federal child care assistance including a $1.5 billion boost for Head Start. Moreover, the Department of Veterans Affairs has solidified a pilot program offering psychotherapy to family caregivers of veterans, proving successful and now permanent since October 2023.

On the other side of the political aisle, House Republicans have proposed a budget that slashes critical care funding, according to the White House. Cuts by House Republicans would eliminate over a quarter of a million child care and Head Start slots, and trim funding for essential services such as Social Security and Medicare. All this, while enacting a $5.5 trillion tax cut predominantly benefiting the wealthy and corporations.