Exclusive: Kamala Harris summons C.E.O.s to talk child care
The day after Senate Democrats passed their "big, bold" $3.5 trillion budget blueprint, Vice President Kamala Harris is bringing business leaders to the White House to build support for one of the plan's key pillars, child care, a White House official told DealBook.
The budget, which aims to transform social policy in America, is still far from official, and the challenges to passing it became clearalmost immediately, with the moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin saying he had "serious concerns" about spending so much.
In the meeting, Harris is expected to emphasize that affordable care is a concern for both families and companies, DealBook hears
The invite list includes a wide range of business leaders, like Nathan Blecharczyk, a founder and strategy chief at Airbnb; Mark Breitbard, the C.E.O. of the Gap brand; Jenna Johnson, the president of Patagonia; Josh Silverman, the C.E.O. of Etsy; Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft; Hamdi Ulukaya, the C.E.O. of Chobani; and Alison Whritenour, the C.E.O. of Seventh Generation.
What the White House is asking for: The Biden administration's agenda on child care includes extending the enhanced tax credit to parents offered as part of the American Rescue Plan, which researchers say could cut child poverty by 45 percent. It also calls for expanding various forms of paid leave, up to an eventual total of 12 weeks per year for parental, family care and medical leave, as well as three days of bereavement per year.
Child care has become a major business issue, made more urgent as 2.5 million women have left the work force since the beginning of the pandemic. Companies, already facing difficulties filling open positions, have struggled to bring them back. The share of women in paid work is now at the lowest level since 1986.
The U.S. is the only member of the O.E.C.D. club of rich countries that does not have statutory paid leave for new parents. Today, roughly 300 business leaders from companies like Salesforce and Spotify called for federal paid family leave. In a letter, they said that paid leave "leads to better retention, personal health, and improved morale, which contributes to greater stability and viability for our businesses, ultimately helping our bottom line."
Andrew Ross Sorkin, DealBook, New York Times, August 12, 2021
August 12, 2021
Voices4America Post Script. Kamala is busy on childcare- important to families, important to business. #ILoveKamala #I loveJoe