The nearly $3 trillion “Build Back Better” spending bill aimed at building up our social infrastructure so far, has been cut down to a little over $1 trillion. Today we learned that paid family and medical leave is at risk of being cut from the bill entirely, even though we are still fighting a pandemic that is currently the leading cause of death in the United States.
This spending bill is supposed to help us “build back better” but better for whom?
Make It Work Nevada has been in the fight for paid leave for nearly 6 years because of the direct impact it has on families in our community. The majority of our essential and service industry workers are women and people of color and we fight for them. The truth is, paid family and medical leave would actually help the millions of Black and Brown families facing disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
This spending bill is supposed to help us “build back better” but better for whom? We know there are great things to come from the spending bill but we have to move beyond piecemealing together policies that provide families with support in one area while leaving them at risk in others. Multi-issue people need multi-issue solutions. Keeping paid leave in the spending bill would demonstrate that everyone including our most vulnerable communities are seen and respected as full American citizens.
This critical juncture we find ourselves in provides a unique opportunity for us to truly build better communities; a better economy; and a better nation for us all. Ensuring people don’t have to choose between providing for their family or caring for them is a basic demand for economic fairness. Until the final package is passed, and the ink dries on the legislation, we remain committed to pursuing this critical support for working families.