Two Policies at the Core of Biden’s Agenda
During an appearance in his childhood home of Scranton, Pa. this week, President Joe Biden made the case for congressional approval of his nearly $2 trillion dollar ‘Build Back Better’ agenda, which is currently in the midst of a tug-of-war between progressive and moderate Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Biden put a particular spotlight on $350 billion for child care subsidies and free pre-kindergarten that the spending plan would underwrite, as he reflected on his own experience as a single father who had the help of his family after his wife and daughter died in a car crash in the 1970s.
Millions of Americans, the president noted, don’t have access to that kind of extraordinary support system.
A recently released report underlines the challenges the pandemic economy posed for American women, millions of whom dropped out of the workforce as the economy went into recession.
During the first quarter of 2021, female participation in the labor force dipped to its lowest point since 1988, according to the report, jointly released by the United Way of Pennsylvania, the United Way of Bucks County, and the advocacy group, ReadyNation.
It concludes that the swiftest way to return those women to the workforce is for policymakers to “stabilize and strengthen the child care system to help women return to and remain in the workforce.”
The report paints a vivid and disturbing picture of the pandemic’s impact on working women in Pennsylvania, which reflects the rest of the nation, finding, among other things, that:
• Unemployment insurance claims were higher for women than for men from January 2020 to January 2021, peaking at 22.3 percent (vs. 19.3 percent for men).
• More than four times as many Pennsylvania women were unemployed in December 2020 than in December 2019.
• Female workforce participation is not expected to fully rebound to pre-pandemic levels until late 2024.