Budget Resolution Offers Dramatic, Equitable Path to Economic Security

Washington, DC, August 11—Today, the United States Senate passed a historic $3.5 trillion budget resolution to initiate a budget reconciliation process that stands to create the most consequential legislation for people with low incomes in decades. The budget framework meets the most urgent needs of children, individuals, and families while centering those most impacted by the devastating effects of the COVID pandemic and historical racism.

Adoption of this budget resolution marks a dramatic departure from our country’s current policies to one of transformative change that directly tackles child poverty, our country’s caregiving crisis, and work that too often fails to provide economic security. It does so through bold and targeted investments that would create a national paid leave program, expand child care, extend the expanded child tax credit and earned income tax credit, invest in workforce development and good jobs, and provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants.

“The devastating effects of the COVID pandemic have made it clear that our past policies failed too many children and young people, women, and communities of color,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). “Critical investments in strengthening our nation’s care infrastructure, creating support systems for families and children, and nurturing high-quality jobs are long overdue. Women, immigrants, young people, people of color, and communities with low incomes have been on the frontlines of the pandemic serving as caregivers, essential workers, and health care professionals. They have been the backbone of our economy and enabled us to carry on with our daily lives, despite facing systemic challenges. The budget passed today is responsive to the needs of these communities and paves the way for an equitable and powerful recovery.”

The strong anti-poverty provisions in the resolution will be transformative for people with low incomes. In particular, the budget resolution calls for the creation of a national paid family and medical leave program for all workers. A program of this nature will support the economic security of millions of families, allowing them to take paid time off to care for a loved one, new child, and attend to their own health needs.

Investments to support workers and would-be workers, including through workforce development and postsecondary education, will be vital to ensure that all those facing structural barriers to good jobs can share in our economic recovery. A subsidized jobs program that targets youth and young adults would be a critical investment, putting more individuals on a road to economic stability.

“Additionally, we applaud the commitment to making child care affordable for working families. For too long, parents have struggled with the high costs of care while child care workers have been undervalued and underpaid,” said Golden. “We’re also excited to see an extension of improvements to the child tax credit and earned income tax credit, which will significantly cut child poverty and provide much-needed financial relief to millions of families and young adults.”

CLASP also celebrates the inclusion of a historic pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, farmworkers, and essential workers as part of the budget blueprint. Immigrants and their families are vital to our communities, and immigrant workers have played a critical role in essential jobs throughout the pandemic, often without access to worker protections or economic relief. It is time we invest in a path forward that allows them and their children to thrive.

“Taken together, these investments will dramatically improve the circumstances of children, women, and families while pushing forward our country’s economic recovery. The Senate budget resolution recognizes that a recovery must be inclusive of all. We look forward to working with Congress to make this vision real. We call on Congress to move swiftly to pass budget reconciliation legislation that enacts these transformative policies with equity at the forefront,” said Golden.