Mary Rose Corkery, DCNF
Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand explained Tuesday that she called child care infrastructure because bringing people back into the work force is essential for rebuilding the economy.
Gillibrand, who tweeted that child care is infrastructure last week, said that it will be difficult for families to return to work if there weren’t measures addressing childcare during an interview on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto.”
“What we define as infrastructure as what is necessary to get the economy moving and if you don’t have access to day care, universal pre-k, affordable day care or a national paid leave plan. It’s gonna be hard to get families back to work and we need them back to work. We need this country to be thriving,” Gillibrand said.
Biden introduced his $2 trillion infrastructure package, or the “American Jobs Plan,” at the end of March in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The package includes $25 billion towards improving child care facilities in the U.S. as well as creating them where they’re the most required, according to a White House fact sheet. Biden also urged for extending tax credit in order to motivate businesses to develop “child care facilities at places of work.”
Gillibrand said she doesn’t regret categorizing child care as part of infrastructure.
“We know if you have a company that wants to ship goods, things like rail lines and roads are infrastructure, but if you don’t have child-care, if you don’t have the ability to look after kids when they should be in school, but aren’t because they’re home because of COVID, you don’t have the infrastructure you need around you to get to work,” Gillibrand said.
“So the care economy is what we could call soft infrastructure, you got the hard infrastructure, roads, bridges, broadband. You know broadband wasn’t considered infrastructure 100 years ago because it didn’t exist and so it matters,” Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand said Republicans who argue the bill is costly “should ask their wives” if they did not know how important child care is.
“I’m sure they’d know how important it is. A lot of care gets given to women and families and unfortunately during COVID, women disproportionately bore the brunt of this pandemic. In fact, in the month of December, there was 140,000 net jobs lost and if you add up all the jobs gained by men and women, all the jobs lost by men and women, it was net 140,000 women that lost those jobs and largely they were women of color,” Gillibrand said.
“So this pandemic has hit different demographics differently and I think until this country recognizes things like the care economy is part of infrastructure, it’ll never fully recover,” Gillibrand said.