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Amy Klobuchar

03/03/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/03/2021 19:36

Klobuchar, Duckworth, Colleagues Introduce “Marshall Plan for Moms” Resolution to Support Mothers in the American Workforce

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), along with Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Dick Durbin (D-IL), introduced the Marshall Plan for Moms, a resolution to support mothers in the American workforce. The Marshall Plan for Moms is championed in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY).

Throughout the pandemic, women - especially mothers - have been disproportionately affected by job losses, bearing the brunt of the economic fallout. According to a report from the National Women's Law Center, more than 2 million women have left the U.S. workforce since the pandemic began, with many forced to leave due to family considerations or because they work in industries that have been among the hardest-hit.

In response, Klobuchar is urging her colleagues to pass the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which provides major funding for a comprehensive set of relief programs that will support mothers as they reenter the workforce.

'We must take action immediately to support working moms as we rebuild our economy,' said Sen. Klobuchar. 'This resolution recognizes that mothers have been pushed to their limits during the coronavirus pandemic, and we need to have their backs. There's no time to waste as we work to pass a coronavirus relief package that will meet the needs of our nation's moms, including a robust paid leave plan, affordable child care, and access to mental health support resources.'

'In order to truly build an economy that is stronger than it was when this deadly pandemic hit, we must confront the crises facing working moms all across our nation and stop treating their time as both expendable and endless,' said Sen. Duckworth. 'That's why I'm introducing this resolution with Senator Klobuchar that recognizes the additional responsibilities that mothers have been handed throughout this pandemic and urges swift passage of a relief bill that includes provisions that support them, such as investments in paid leave and affordable childcare.'

'I thank Senators Klobuchar and Duckworth for spearheading the Marshall Plan for Moms in the Senate. Support from such outstanding leaders is crucial, and I am proud to partner with them to help pull moms back from the precipice that is this pandemic. As I have said, moms throughout America are screaming out for help. Moms - especially moms of color - have been pushed to the brink of economic, social, and emotional collapse due to the COVID-19 crisis, and the Marshall Plan for Moms is a blueprint to make sure moms have a fighting chance, and that they are protected against any future economic calamities. That is why I am also pleased that elements of our Marshall Plan for Moms are reflected in the American Rescue Act such as increased funding for SNAP, the child care industry, schools, internet access for students, and expanding the child tax credit and unemployment insurance benefits. All are vital items that would be a tremendous boost in providing immediate help to moms. Furthermore, the American Rescue Plan will cut child poverty in half. Moms are the backbone of our society, and I am grateful to work with Senators Klobuchar and Duckworth in making moms a priority in Congress,' said Rep. Meng.

'This is a national crisis. The economic data shows us that mothers are facing the brunt of this pandemic and we must provide relief for them now,' said Reshma Saujani, Founder of Girls Who Code. 'All of the jobs lost in December were from women, and about 275,000 women left the workforce in January. This is why we need a Marshall Plan for Moms. I'm grateful that Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congresswoman Grace Meng have teamed up with a detailed plan to get women back to work. They get that we can't go small. We need bold policies that get us out of this crisis and prioritize mothers. I encourage Congress to pass this resolution immediately.'

'We applaud Senator Klobuchar for her leadership in addressing the economic fallout from nearly a million mothers leaving the workforce because of the pandemic,' said Erika Moritsugu, Vice President for Congressional Relations at the National Partnership for Women and Families. 'The Marshall Plan for Moms calls for the care infrastructure, supportive workplaces, paid leave policies, rebuilding of the child care industry and gender and racial pay equities that will begin to address the systemic racism and gender inequality that has forced women out of the workforce. At a moment when moms are struggling through a pandemic wall, the Marshall Plan for Moms, shows someone is listening, cares and is taking action for them.'

'The pandemic is having a devastating impact on women and moms, with women of color experiencing compounded harms due to the structural racism we have failed to stop,' said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director and CEO of MomsRising, the national online and on-the-ground organization of more than one million mothers and their families. 'Women's labor force participation is at a 30-year low, which is a huge setback for families, for gender and racial equity, for businesses and for our economy. Senator Klobuchar's resolution proposes the exact fixes we need at this moment, including funds to rebuild and stabilize the child care industry, a robust paid leave plan, expanded unemployment insurance, and investments in education. These policy solutions will stabilize and support moms, businesses and our country, so we can all thrive.'

The Marshall Plan for Moms calls for:

  1. A robust paid leave plan, which is essential to securing the physical health and financial health of families, including emergency paid leave policies that would create a path toward permanent paid leave solutions;
  2. Funding to rebuild and stabilize the child care industry, which is essential to economic recovery and bolstering women in the labor force;
  3. Major investments in our education systems, which must be made in order to safely reopen schools and campuses, providing funding to support and protect the safety and health of educators, support staff, students, and families;
  4. Recurring child benefits, and expanded and improved child tax credit and earned income tax credit to help reduce child poverty and provide economic security for families;
  5. An expanded unemployment insurance program that benefits struggling workers, including those experiencing long-term unemployment; and
  6. Access to mental health support for mothers, which is essential to maintaining the health of the family.

Full resolution can be found below and HERE.

Recognizing that the United States needs a Marshall Plan for Moms in order to revitalize and restore mothers in the workforce.

Whereas any relief and long-term recovery from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic must recognize, rebuild, and return mothers to the workforce;

Whereas women, and especially working mothers, are bearing the brunt of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of existing social barriers and policy failures such as-

(1) the lack of a care infrastructure, including child care deserts and lack of care infrastructure caused by high child care costs;

(2) the lack of family-supportive workplaces;

(3) the lack of a national paid leave policy; and

(4) gender and racial pay inequity;

Whereas, at the beginning of 2020, women made up the majority of the workforce for the first time in almost a decade, even as women continued to face unjust gender and racial wage gaps;

Whereas 2,300,000 women have left the labor force since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, including 275,000 who exited in January 2021;

Whereas participation by women in the labor force was less than 55 percent in April 2020 for the first time since 1986, in part because of the child care crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;

Whereas participation by women age 20 and older in the labor force fell to a 33-year low in January 2021, hitting 57 percent;

Whereas women-

(1) have suffered the majority of pandemic-related job losses; and

(2) have lost over 5,400,000 net jobs since February 2020, and account for 55 percent of overall net job loss since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic;

Whereas 86 percent of net jobs lost in December 2020 were jobs held by women, with women losing 196,000 jobs during that month;

Whereas mothers in the prime of their working lives have paid an especially high price, with mothers ages 25 to 54 experiencing a 5.7-percentage point decline in employment since the COVID-19 pandemic began, compared to a 3.1 percentage-point decline for fathers in the same age group;

Whereas women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs and underrepresented in high-wage jobs;

Whereas employment in the bottom quartile of the wage distribution has declined by 17 percent since February 2020, far exceeding the overall employment decline of 6.5 percent;

Whereas wages for women are key to the economic security of the families of such women;

Whereas women of color play a particularly vital role in the financial stability of their families, and any disruption to their earnings can be detrimental to the welfare of their families;

Whereas the absence of affordable child care exacerbates inequality by severely inhibiting low-income parents from attaining promotions and higher salaries;

Whereas child nutrition is strongly linked to the employment status of mothers, such that almost 1 in 4 children experienced food insecurity in 2020 at the same time that mothers experienced work disruptions or unemployment that led to income loss;

Whereas work interruptions caused by school closures and child care closures have disproportionately impacted women, forcing women to reduce work hours, take a leave of absence, or permanently leave the workforce;

Whereas, without reliable and affordable child care, mothers who have left the workforce will not be able to return to work, since such mothers often cannot pay for child care without the income made from going back to work;

Whereas essential workers who are single parents face additional challenges and greater financial burden due to needing affordable child care;

Whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing stigmas against working mothers that falsely assume that their role as caregivers will negatively impact their work performance;

Whereas mothers forced to permanently leave the workforce or reduce work hours because of the COVID-19 pandemic are experiencing career trajectory disruptions that lower their lifetime earnings potential and endanger their future Social Security earnings and other potential retirement income;

Whereas child care is a lifeline for working mothers, and over 75 percent of mothers with children younger than age 10 say child care is one of their top 3 challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic;

Whereas, in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, there were roughly 9,700,000 working mothers with a child younger than age 6;

Whereas 95 percent of the child care workforce is comprised of women, and yet nearly\\ \2/3\ of child care workers with children report problems with accessing public support programs and often struggle to afford high-quality child care for their own families;

Whereas 60 percent of businesses in the child care industry are minority-owned;

Whereas a significant investment in child care would be simultaneously job creating and job enabling, creating care jobs and supporting parental employment, both of which would benefit women;

Whereas women of color are disproportionately represented in many frontline industries that also lack critical benefits such as paid sick leave and flexibility to telework, including food services, hospitality, retail, and social assistance;

Whereas the unprecedented burdens of child care, work, and remote learning have strained the mental and emotional health of mothers; and

Whereas access to paid leave during the COVID-19 pandemic has been linked to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 by as many as 15,000 new cases per day where people were able to use the leave, such that paid leave has prevented the compounded stressors of countless evictions, hospitalizations, and hungry children: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that-

(1) mothers, especially mothers of color, have been pushed to the brink of economic, social, and emotional collapse during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the existing economic and social inequalities that women have long faced;

(2) any relief and long-term recovery package to address the COVID-19 crisis should recognize and rebuild moms in the workforce, in order to secure meaningful and sustainable economic recovery, by including, at a minimum-

(A) a robust paid leave plan, which is essential to securing the physical health and financial health of families, including emergency paid leave policies that would create a path toward permanent paid leave solutions;

(B) the means to rebuild and stabilize the child care industry, which is essential to economic recovery and bolstering women in the labor force;

(C) major investments in our education systems, which must be made in order to safely reopen schools and campuses, providing funding to support and protect the safety and health of educators, support staff, students, and families;

(D) recurring child benefits, and expanded and improved child tax credit and earned income tax credit to help reduce child poverty and provide economic security for families;

(E) an expanded unemployment insurance program that benefits struggling workers, including those experiencing long-term unemployment; and

(F) access to mental health support for mothers, which is essential to maintaining the health of the family; and

(3) employers and policymakers in the United States must prioritize addressing the economic cliff facing mothers, and make permanent the aforementioned policies so that mothers are protected against any future economic calamities.

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