Written by Carol Joyner
Once again, those who center women and others providing and needing care have a dilemma. A budget reconciliation proposal, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, is on the table that addresses several things we all badly need: energy security and climate change policies, health care extensions of the ACA, and tax reform measures including ones that will lower prescription drug prices. Millions of people across the nation will benefit from this legislation. But the policies we know are also crucial to our nation’s recovery — child care, paid family and medical leave, eldercare services — yet again have been shoved aside.
The bill before us will help reduce inflation. But our inflation woes are also tied to international disruptions which we have little control over. Many of the domestic issues that we can control — workforce attachment and consumer confidence — are deeply impacted by the lack of care policies. Excluding care from the reconciliation bill is not only shortsighted but is a direct attack on women who continue to be the chief caregivers with no help whatsoever from certain elected officials or their corporate benefactors.
The message to all of those with care responsibilities and those needing care: you’re on your own!
The early versions of the Build Back Better policy that passed out of the House of Representatives included robust provisions of what’s included in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 along with the policies most likely to increase workforce participation and the historic disparities tied to caregiving. These social safety net protections like universal childcare care, a permanent child tax credit policy, paid family and medical leave and a functional system for home and community based services were considered part of the family stabilization and recovery tools needed as we emerge from the COVID-19 health crises and its related economic aftermath.
Voters overwhelmingly supported these policies. Experts wholeheartedly praised them. Yet not one member of the Republican party would support them. That meant we needed every Democrat. Yet Joe Manchin of West Virginia refused to include any element of care. The impact is a recovery that continues to abandon women, over represented by women of color, hammered by the she-session. The capstone to this exercise in disregard was the destructive SCOTUS decision that upended our body autonomy with a warning for future attacks on our rights.
We will do all we can to ensure passage of this Inflation reducing bill. But we will not remain silent about a white, male-dominated Congress composed of people who are too wealthy to know what caregiving needs entail. We know that if we don’t continue to fight, we will lose it all.
So we’ll fight on. We’ll go the distance until there is childcare that everyone has access to and can afford. We’ll keep passing paid family leave and paid sick days policies in the states until we get the federal policies that we deserve — #PaidLeaveForAll, and we won’t give up on our seniors and those who care for them.
We’ll celebrate a climate change provision that is the tip of a melting iceberg and keep it moving. But know that millions of women are watching, organizing, and planning to vote.
Originally published on medium: https://medium.com/@kendallmasterson/hey-caregivers-youre-on-your-own-728793ff160d