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To Really Celebrate Mothers (and Families)
Focusing on family policies and women's rights extends the appreciation for mothers beyond one day each year
As much as I appreciate the value of Mother’s Day (yesterday) to honor the fundamental role of moms in our lives, not to mention Father’s Day (next month), I’m always struck by how inadequate it is to jam all the celebratory acknowledgements into a single day. This is hard work—the most important work— that takes place every day and lasts a lifetime.
I can’t overstate the commitment of the mother of my daughters, who’s given them such a strong and loving vision of what it means to be a woman and a human. And she’s the first one to say succeeding as a parent depends on the support of so many others (and often reminds me that she wishes we had had more of a village, particularly when our children were smaller).
No parent functions alone, especially when financial resources are tight. How can our society make the hard job of mothers and fathers a little easier? It helps that America has a president who prioritizes supporting the needs of families.
In his 2024 budget, an expression of his values, President Biden proposes raising the maximum child credit, currently $2,000 per child, to $3,600 per child under age 6 or $3,000 per child for 6 and up. The enhanced child tax credit would restore an expired pandemic policy, sending monthly payments of up to $300 per child, which helped cut child poverty almost in half in 2021—the “lowest level in all of American history,” Biden said in a speech to union workers in March, “because moms were able to go to work.”
Biden’s proposed budget also seeks 12 weeks paid family and medical leave, and includes expanded access to affordable childcare and free preschool. The plan would also expand Medicaid for home and community services so elderly and disabled people could stay at home, providing relief for family caregivers.
The Center on Poverty & Social Policy at Columbia University estimates that the “value to society” from a $100 billion child tax credit investment would generate a tenfold economic increase to about $1 trillion. The benefits to children include future earnings, educational achievement and health. Benefits to parents include mental and physical health and longevity. And for society? Reduced costs related to health, child protective services and involvement in the criminal justice system.
The promise is clear, even as the battle to make this a reality is tough. “Folks, we can reduce child poverty and increase child opportunity,” Biden said. “It’s going to help millions of parents to go work, knowing their children are being taken care of. And yet, only a few of my Republican friends support it.” (And, worse, far too many of these Republicans appear ready to default on the nation’s debt ostensibly to cut spending, increasing the risk of a deep recession.)
The intensifying effort by the Biden administration to protect women’s health and reproductive rights also illustrates support for the needs of families. Axios reported over the weekend that Vice President Kamala Harris will be devoting more of her time to address abortion issues. That reportedly included meeting with 14 women last Wednesday at her residence who are focused on reproductive rights issues, as well as others from labor, faith and civil rights groups.
Harris will be giving a keynote on abortion to women’s rights activists tomorrow at the EMILY’s List gala. Among her remarks at last year’s event after the overturning of Roe v. Wade: “Some Republican leaders are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women. How dare they? How dare they tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body? How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future?”
And then there’s Donald Trump, about whom in recent days we’ve learned more about his sexual predation. I’m not just talking about his sexual abuse and defamation of E. Jean Carroll—for which he was found liable last week—but about two of his staffers now publicly acknowledging his despicable behavior in the White House.
“I have countless pieces of what I considered impropriety in the White House that I brought to the chief of staff because I thought the way he engaged with women was dangerous,” Alyssa Farah Griffin, former White House director of strategic communications, told CNN host Jake Tapper after the Carroll verdict. “We know these facts. The patterns are laid out. This is not just speculation…This is all out there. Voters need to pay attention.”
Separately, former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Tuesday, “There was a specific staffer…that [Trump] would request for her to be on constant trips when it wasn’t her turn…he one time had one of my other deputies bring her back so that they could ‘look at her ass’ is what he said to him…I tried everything I could to ensure she was never alone with him.”
This is the man, a convicted sexual predator, that millions of Americans—mothers, grandmothers, parents, family members, daughters and sons—want to see back in the White House. We should only hope that more Americans treat every day as Mother’s Day—a time to respect, appreciate and protect the women in our lives—not just once a year.
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