Via Teleconference
South Court Auditorium

10:07 A.M. EDT

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Ai-jen.  It’s so good to see you and always to work with you over these years, and especially now when there’s so much at stake in terms of our real ability to actually leapfrog over where we’ve been and to really just take on these issues that we have known even before the pandemic represent the failures and the fissures and the fractures in our system.

     And I’m very excited about the potential that we have and the possibility, with the collective hard work of all of the leaders here, to really see this through and get it done.  

     And I can’t stress enough that this issue of care and caregiving and the care economy and care work, it impacts everyone, regardless of the composition of your household, regardless of your age, regardless of your gender, regardless of your profession.  It impacts everyone.  

     And so let’s be clear: Everyone, whoever you are, should care about this issue and should understand how it impacts our entire society and our country, not to mention our world.

     So, thank you, Senator Tammy Duckworth.  Thank you for your longstanding leadership and for being a champion in the United States Congress for caregivers and the work that you continue to do be a great fighter.     

Well, it is wonderful to see everyone.  I see you on the screen over there.  And gathered here are the incredible leaders who care for your parents, for your siblings, for your children — people who provide care for other people’s families. 

     And caregivers do it all, from helping with finances and medication, to preparing meals and providing transportation.  Caregiving is hard work.  It’s hard work.  It is work that requires emotional strength and can be emotionally taxing.  It requires physical strength and it’s physically demanding.  And it requires a certain spirit of giving.  

And you all give so much, not to mention how much time it requires, because there’s so much about caregiving work that is not on a clock.  You don’t punch in and punch out; it really is a function of the needs of the people you are caring for.

And, you know, folks have to understand that, when we talk about, then, the issue of how we pay people their value and understand the nature of the work and the value of their work.

And, you know, as a bottom line I’ll just say this: In our nation today, it is essential work.  And our nation runs on care, and therefore our nation must invest in care.

     For working people — and working women, in particular — care is a prerequisite to be able to get to work.  It’s a prerequisite.  It’s not a given, sadly, but it is absolutely necessary.

Yet, we know that care is too often too expensive and too difficult to find — which is why we talk about affordability and accessibility.   

     Take childcare, for instance.  The average family in America has to spend 13 percent of their income on childcare — 13 percent.  And that is assuming they can even find high-quality childcare in their area. 

     Childcare can cost more than healthcare.  It can cost more than housing.  And in many states, it costs more than in-state college tuition. 

     So, these are some of the issues.  These are some of the problems.  What’s the solution?

Well, part of the solution is our Build Back Better Agenda, which will cut the cost of childcare by more than half for most families in our country.  And it will also extend the Child Tax Credit, which, as we know, will lift almost half of America’s children out of poverty.  And it will expand paid leave.  And it will improve options for seniors and people with disabilities so that they don’t need to leave their home or leave their community to get the care they need. 

     And on that point, this is — this is essentially about allowing people the dignity with which they deserve and want to live.

So, the President and I are determined to get our agenda passed.  And I’ll tell you, the President and I share personal experiences of having done a lot of what is necessary to care for family members who are sick and in need of assistance and help.  And it’s very personal to us.  

We understand what these professionals do every day.  And we understand it in a way that, for us, is really — it’s not only personal; we feel a very strong and deep sense of commitment to seeing this through, with some insight about what this issue really means to real people every day.

And so, our agenda is about what we need to do to give people everywhere a meaningful opportunity to both work and care for their families. 

     For far too long, investments in care have dropped to the bottom of the priority list.  But I’m going to be blunt here: That is because most people who rely on care are women and most people who supply care are also women. 

     So, it is time to make care a top priority.  It is time to honor the value of care for children, for seniors, and for people with disabilities.

     It is time to make corporations pay their fair share and pass our agenda, because care cannot wait. 

     So, as I said, this is personal for me on every level — both on how I benefitted from it and what I know is required to give it.  

Every weekday, for example, when I was growing up, and on many weekends, my mother went to work long hours in the lab.  You see, my mother was a breast cancer researcher.  And she had two goals in her life: to raise her two daughters and end breast cancer.

And so she worked long days.  She worked weekends.  And when she did, my sister and I would walk two doors down to the home of Mrs. Regina Shelton.  Mrs. Shelton ran a childcare center, and she became a second mother to us.  

And for my mother — I remember this so well — when something good happened at her lab and in her work, my mother would bring flowers home to Mrs. Shelton, because she understood that, but for Mrs. Shelton, she would not have been able to do the work that she did.  She would not have been able to fulfill the ambitions she had for herself and for her daughters.

     Everyone deserves the support, and everyone deserves the kind of respect that I, to this day, and my mother had for Mrs. Shelton. 

     That is the work ahead. 

     So, thank you again for being here, and I look forward to our conversation.

     And now I will turn it over to Senator Tammy Duckworth.

Thank you.

SENATOR DUCKWORTH:  Thank, Madam Vice President.   It’s an honor to be here.  Hello, everyone.  It’s also great to see Ai-jen Poo.  Hello.  Good to see you as well. 

You know, we’re here to discuss the importance of historic childcare, home healthcare, and family leave investments in President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda.  

Medicaid home- and community-based services are essential to assisting older Americans and people with disabilities, and ensuring that this program has sufficient resources as important as it’s ever been in our nation’s history.  

Our nation is deep in a caregiving crisis for both patients and for care workers.  Seniors and people with disabilities who have already been disproportionately impacted by the deadly pandemic should not be forced to abandon their home services for group settings where there are figher [sic] — far higher risks of illness and death.  While group settings may be appropriate for some people, not everybody should be forced into a group setting because there’s no other choice.  

We must do our best to protect the dignity, health, and financial stability of all Americans.  And beyond this, we must remember the other caregiving crisis: the lack of paid leave for our working families.

Without guaranteed leave, we’ve seen so many parents, especially women and parents of color, forced to make impossible choices between caring for their loved ones and earning a paycheck.  

As a mom who works outside of the home, I know how difficult it can be to balance everything: making sure that I make it through our weekday morning routines; hustling to get my six- and three-year-old on the school bus on time while — all the while trying to pack their lunch while they argue about what they want for lunch or not want for lunch; and tending to — and making sure that I get myself ready to go to work as well — you know, to head to the Capitol to vote and introduce a new piece of legislation for America.  

And then there were the mornings, earlier in the pandemic, when I spent part of every day homeschooling Abigail, my six- year-old, pouring over worksheets and trying to come up with science experiments, and helping her — she was struggling with learning to read and write — doing everything I could to make sure that she wouldn’t fall behind.  

I may be a trained assault helicopter pilot and a U.S. senator, but I’m — let me tell you, I am not a trained elementary school teacher.  And I bow down to all teachers everywhere because it was — it was far harder than flying a helicopter in combat, let me just say that.  

But listen, through every moment of every stressful morning, I know that I’m one of the lucky ones.  I have help.  I have a husband.  My mom moved in during the pandemic, so she was there to help take care of our children.  She was always happy to lend a helping hand.  And I have the ability to take paid leave if an emergency arises, but for far too many parents, that is not a possibility.

Even through — even before the pandemic, nearly 80 percent — 80 percent of private sector workers did not have access to paid family leave through their jobs to care for a new child or for a loved one who falls ill.  

And just 8 percent of workers — imagine that: In this mightiest country on the face of the Earth, just 8 percent of our workers in the bottom 25 percent of the wage scale had access to paid family leave in 2020.  Just 8 percent.  

New research shows that taking action on policies that help families address their care needs could add $2.4 trillion — that’s with a “T” — trillion dollars to the United States gross domestic product by 2030.  It grows our economy to make these investments.  

So, it’s clear that paid leave is not only good for the working family, it’s good for our nation.  And that’s why it’s critical that we work to pass the Biden Build Back Better Agenda and make these historic movements in the care economy.  

And with that, I’m turning it back over, I believe, to Ai-jen.

MS. POO:  Thank you so much, Senator Duckworth.  Our first question today is from Tori Snyder, a small-business owner and single mother in Pittsburgh.

Tori.

MS. SNYDER:  Good morning, Madam Vice President and Senator Duckworth.  I’m Tori Snyder and the founder of Self-Care Señorita and an advocate for MomsRising.  I’m based in Pittsburgh as a single mom with a toddler on the autism spectrum and a grandmother I help care for due to the after-effects of COVID-19.

I think I’m the definition of a of the sandwich generation.  It has been hard for me because, during the pandemic, my son’s childcare program closed.  And while it’s open now, it’s a huge cost for me as it’s about a (inaudible) of my take-home pay.  This is huge (inaudible) as I try to care for my family and keep my small business afloat. 

I’m using the temporary expanded Child Tax Credit to help pay my family’s bills.  I’m curious: Is the expanded Child Tax Credit going to continue after the end of the year, and are lawmakers finally going to make childcare affordable for families like mine?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Tori, first of all, thank you for being a part of this, and for your voice and the courage of your voice to tell your story, because your story represents the life of so many people in our country. 

And I will say this: The Child Tax Credit — we feel very strongly that it should endure, that it should continue.  We know that it works.  We know — and this is probably one of the things — I’ll speak for myself — that I’m most proud of that our administration has been able to accomplish, which is the thought that we will lift almost half of America’s children out of poverty.  

The generational impact of that is profound, and so we have to continue it because we know it makes sense — right? — which is just give parents that extra bit that allows you to take care of essential needs for your family, and that includes food.  It includes rent.  It includes the cost of childcare. 

So, under the American Rescue Plan, we got it so that it’s $3,000 for a child under — over six, and three hundred and — $3,600 for children under the age of six.  And it is the first time that the money will go to families on a monthly basis.  That is one of the important things about what we were able to accomplish and, basically, because the bottom line is obvious: Your bills are on a monthly basis; you can’t wait until the end of the year to pay the rent. 

And so that’s part of the design of what we’ve done with the Child Tax Credit.  And the bottom line is that the current state of affairs is it’s too expensive and too hard to find childcare, and we need to make it easier.  

And so, there’s a supply-and-demand issue at play here as well, which is: The more that we can actually give parents resources to pay for childcare, it is our intention also — and working with Ai-jen and so many other leaders — to also demand that our childcare providers are paid more, but it shouldn’t be more expensive for the parent to pay childcare workers their value.  

And so that, in essence, is what we are fighting for: Let’s make it less expensive, let’s make it more accessible for working parents, and let’s pay people their value based on the work that they provide for our community and society. 

So it is our intention to keep fighting for it — also to lower the expensive childcare so that no family, middle or low income, pays more than 7 percent of their income in childcare.

SENATOR DUCKWORTH:  Well, I could not agree with Vice President Harris more.  

As a mom to two young girls — they’re three and six — I know how important childcare is.  It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity for all working parents.  And making sure that every parent has access to quality, affordable childcare is not only good for the kids, it’s good for our nation’s economy because it keeps women and men in their jobs.  And I’m hopeful that we’re going to be able to get it done in the Senate.

We are fighting as hard as we can.  The American Rescue Plan, you know, was passed on a party-line agenda.  And if we have to do this with just Democrats voting for it, as we did with the American Rescue Plan that brought you the Child Tax Credit, then that’s the way we’re going to go.  

But we’re not going to stop fighting.  We hope that others join us, but if they don’t, we’re going to fight to make sure that we get this passed.  It’s that critical. 

The Child Tax Credit goes directly into the pockets of families for diapers and formula and school supplies and food.  We must extend these critical tax credits as we work to build back better and to really implement the Biden-Harris agenda.

So, know that we in the Senate, especially Senate Democrats, are fighting as hard as we can.  And if we have to pass it along party lines, then we will.  But we’re not going to give up on our families.

I do think that we are going to go to the next person, which should be Nicole Jorwic from Illinois.  Hello, Nicole.  

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Nicole, unmute yourself or wave.  Let’s see you.  (Laughter.)  Where are you?  Where’s Nicole?  

     SENATOR DUCKWORTH:  Well, while we try to find —

MS. JORWIC:  Thank you —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Oh, there’s Nicole.  Right there.

MS. JORWIC:  Yes.  Hello.

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Okay.  Good.

SENATOR DUCKWORTH:  Hi.

MS. JORWIC:  Hello, Madam Vice President, and thank you, 
Senator Duckworth.  We are in Illinois, and I’m here with my — I’m here as a professional but also as a family caregiver.  I’m Nicole Jorwic, Senior Director of Public Policy for The Arc, but I’m sitting here with my brother, Chris, who receives Medicaid home- and community-based care; my mom, who coordinates that care but also coordinates the care of her parents, which got more complex with my grandmother’s recent Parkinson’s diagnosis.  

So many families are families like ours, realizing often, only when they need the services the most, that Medicare doesn’t cover long-term services for aging family members and that waiting lists are years-long for them and for people with disabilities who need Medicaid home- and community-based services.  

And even when families are lucky, like ours, to get pulled off of the list, getting and keeping direct support workers and homecare workers is difficult because the pay is so low — much too low for the work they do, especially because it is life-giving work.  

It is harrowing to fill in gaps in the system to keep family members safe at home and avoid financial ruin for family caregivers.  

     The polling continues to be strong for the investments in home- and community-based care for our seniors, like my grandma; people with disabilities, like Chris here; for family caregivers, like my mom; and for the paid workforce.

In Chris’s words, these services matter because it is a lifeline to people like me.  We must make sure it is available to anybody who needs it, and we must support the workers who do the work.  

Our family is thrilled with President Biden’s plan to include these investments for access to home- and community-based care, and for better pay for the workers in the Build Back Better Agenda.  

My question is: What can people — members of the disability community, like Chris, and our family — expect to see from the administration through the Build Back Better Agenda in this space? 

Thank you so much.

SENATOR DUCKWORTH:  Thank you, Nicole.  Thank you, Chris.  Thank you, Mom, for being here today.  I’m going to take first shot at this and then hand it over to the Vice President.

There’s so much that we can do, Nicole.  There’s so much we can do to better support people with disabilities.  And I know this remains a top priority for the Biden-Harris administration.

One way that we can do this is what you’ve already talked about, and that — and something that I’ve been pushing for very hard is investing in home- and community-based services, HCBS.

Strengthening HCBS is a pillar of the President’s Build Back Better Agenda.  And that’s why I was proud to help secure $12 billion in funding for HCBS in the American Rescue Plan, which Democrats passed.  And that’s why I also led an effort in support for fulfilling President Biden and Vice President Harris’s request for $400 billion to expand and improve Medicaid HCBS funding in this budget package.

We have an opportunity now to invest in HCBS through the Build Back Better budget.  And I’ll continue working with my colleagues to get it done.  

Madam Vice President?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  That’s great.  So, everybody probably knows, but HCBS is the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services program.  And at the heart of it, the point is — and this is why Build Back Better is going to put more resources into that — is that we should allow people with disabilities to fully participate in society.  That should be the goal — our collective goal.

And then the question becomes: Well, how do you reach that goal?  Well, part of it is: Families need support.  And it –literally, financial support to do things like home upgrades — right?; to have personal aids so that folks can receive the support they need.  And it ranges — on the scale of support and care, right?  Sometimes it’s a little bit of one; sometimes it’s more of the other.  

But families need help doing that.  And it should be our collective interest in supporting that — that approach, because it’s just simply the right thing to do.  

And so, again, I want to thank you all for your courage to tell your story.  It’s great to see all three of you.  I know you are a multi-generational family, and there’s so much that is great about that.  It’s — it is wonderful to have, but it does require a lot of work, especially for the generation that’s in the middle of those multi-generations.  

And so, we appreciate all that you all are doing.  And thank you.  And we’re going to keep fighting for you.  We got to build back better.  

Thank you.  

MS. JORWIC:  Thank you, Vice President.  Thank you.  

MS. POO:  That’s right.  We got to build back better.  And I don’t know about all of you, but I’m feeling energized and inspired.  

Next up, we’re going to hear from Nelia Calda, who is a homecare worker in Scottsdale, Arizona, and owns her own homecare agency.  

Welcome, Nelia.

MS. CALDA:  Hi.  Good morning.  My name is Nelia Calda, and I am from Scottsdale, Arizona.  I am a homecare worker, and I have been working in this industry for over 25 years.  It’s an honor to be here, and I hope that my story will inspire Congress to take bold action to make the investment in caring that we need.  

My family started a homecare agency.  And because I love homecare work, I took over my family’s business.  Caring for others is how I want to spend my days.  

I personally take care of four clients, and it feels good knowing that I am making a difference in their lives by giving them the gift of care so that they can live independently at home.  

But being a homecare worker is not an easy job.  We’re essential workers who provide care to all (audio drop) quality pay, protections, or the respect we deserve.  

In Arizona, where I live, and in every state, there is growing demand of homecare because more people want to age at home.  Yet (audio drop) with low wages, lack of training and benefits, (audio drop).

We know that you’re both champions for good union homecare jobs with living wages and expanded access to care for families and communities in need of services.  

My question is: How will you make sure that homecare jobs receive strong support and investment from the federal government? 

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Nelia.  

Well, first, let me just give you a little background on my perspective.  One, I spent a day with a home healthcare worker — a member of SEIU by the name of Wendy Ko — years ago.  I spent the whole day with her.  The work she did during those long hours of that day was extraordinary, taking care of an elderly woman who required everything that everyone requires.  

So, Wendy was responsible for — and did it in a loving way — for food preparation, for helping the person she was caring for to actually get to the table where she would need to eat, changing her clothes, cleaning the bed from time to time, assisting the elderly lady with going to the bathroom, taking her on walks to uplift her spirit, and talking about the beauty of the day and, “Let’s look and see this and that.”  

It was extraordinary work.  And then sometimes not knowing when the elderly woman would have fits where she needed support — she needed some emergency or, you know, unscheduled kind of assistance around her healthcare.  Wendy Ko did all this work in the course of one day.

And I — and I mention that to also highlight a point that you made about the training that is required to do this work.  We’d all like to think we can do it.  I took care of my mother when she, as it turned out, was — was dying from cancer.  And I was fortunate enough to be in a job at the time where I could leave whenever I wanted.  But that’s a rare situation that anyone — any working person can do that.

And — but I do know, from personal experience, again, you’re not on a schedule in terms of the work day; it’s whatever the person you’re caring for needs.  And the skills that you have to do the work you do as a professional are extraordinary. And that is a function of training.  And it is also a special gift that you give another human being who’s often — in the case of professionals who do this work, you’re caring for people that are total strangers to you and you treat them like family. 

So, we feel very strongly that we should be doing a much better job.  The average salary for a home healthcare worker is $11.50 an hour.  For anybody — I’ll just help you with the math — anybody who’s listening, that is $16,000 a year for some of the most noble work that any one human being could do on behalf of another person.  

So, part of the Community-Based Services program under Medicaid that we are also fighting for in Build Back Better would increase money to states to increase wages for our nation’s home healthcare workers — again, understanding the training, the skill, and the devotion with which you do your job.  

Thank you.

SENATOR DUCKWORTH:  Thank you.  Well, Madam Vice President, you could not have said that any better.  I agree: We need to invest in homecare.  In fact, earlier this year, I helped Senator Casey introduce a Better Care Better Jobs Act to carry forward the Biden-Harris bold vision to expand access to quality care, better pay and better benefits for workers, and create jobs for our economy.  

We have to do better to make sure that Americans with disabilities and older Americans have quality, long-term care and that homecare workers are paid fair wages and receive fair benefits.  That’s the bottom line.  That’s what we’re working for right now.  

And people deserve to age in their own homes, live in a situation that they want to live in, and when they receive care, they can have lives of dignity.  And some of them become more productive.  Some of them then actually can — able to hold down a job, whereas they wouldn’t have been before.  So, this makes sense.  This is why we need to pass the Build Back Better Biden-Harris Agenda.  Thank you.

MS. POO:  I couldn’t agree more, Senator.  So our final question today is from Stephanie Woody in Charleston, West Virginia, who’s juggling family caregiving and the demands of running a small business.  

Welcome, Stephanie.  Thanks for being with us.

MS. WOODY:  Thank you, Ai-jen, and especially thank you to Madam Vice President and Senator Duckworth.  I’m Stephanie Woody.  I live in Charleston, West Virginia.  And this past April, in the middle of a pandemic, my husband and I opened our restaurant, The Van Dalia Company, here in Charleston.  Shortly after we opened, our youngest son had a mountain bike accident out of town and required emergency surgery.  

We are lucky enough to have a great community of small-business owners in our neighborhood who were able to get the word out that we would be closed.  Thankfully, it was just for a few days.  But that experience really showed us that we have a great need for paid leave when the expected or the unexpected happens.  

So, we’re just one family, but my employees and all workers really need paid family and medical leave.  Small businesses like mine, we can’t afford to provide that on our own, so we need the help from a federal program. 

After our experience, I wrote to Senator Manchin, explained what had happened, asked him about paid leave, and I was floored to answer the phone one day while I was cooking in our restaurant and hear his voice. 

He told me he understood how important paid leave was to us, and he was supportive of my concerns.  He knows that no one worked harder than Mountaineers.  But he also — I hope that I made clear to him that there are some things that we can’t manage our own.  So, small businesses, our employees — we need the support that is in Build Back Better, especially right now, during this pandemic. 

So, my question to you is: What does the Build Back Better Agenda do to ensure that others don’t have to go without paid leave when they need it?  And what can people like me do to help get this legislation across the finish line?  

Thank you.

SENATOR DUCKWORTH:  Well, thank you, Stephanie.  Every American — every American should have access to paid leave and should never have to decide between getting a paycheck and caring for a sick family member or a child. 

When my first child was born, my husband was still in military service, and he got 10 days off.  That was it: 10 days.  And then he had to go back to work.  We’ve worked hard to fix that within the federal government, but every American — every American deserves to have time off to go take care of a loved one. 

I remember after a long Senate work day, as I was getting on an airplane to fly back home, my husband texted me as the airplane was pushing back, and he said, “The baby is okay.  She fell, but we can’t stop the bleeding.  Headed to the emergency room.”  Oh, my goodness.  But I was able — she’s fine.  She just — she just cut her lip and had to get some stitches.  

But I was fine to be able to take her to a subsequent doctor’s appointment and take the time off from work in order to do that.  And I’m a very lucky person that I was able to do that and care for my child who had had an accident. 

This issue is really personal to me.  I’m fortunate that I have help when I need it; I can take time off when I need to.  But for far too many parents, they don’t have those options.  And this is something that has become all too obvious during the pandemic, especially for those essential workers. 

New research shows that taking actions on policies for care and equity could add $2.4 trillion — $2.4 trillion — that’s with a “T” — to our GDP by 2030.  So, it’s clear that paid leave is not only good for the working family, it’s good for our economy.  And that’s why it’s so critical for the Biden-Harris Build Back Better Agenda.

And you asked what can you do?  Call Joe Manchin again and tell him to support it.

MS. WOODY:  Thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  So, here’s some statistics, which I think many of us know: 80 percent of private sector workers do not have paid leave.   Eighty percent.  

So, this is a big issue, especially when — to the point that the Senator made and you’ve made, Stephanie — that at some point in everyone’s life, you will need to take time off from work to handle an emergency, to handle — to care for a sick relative, to have some time after giving birth to another human being to actually rest and take care of that newborn child. 

And so, let’s talk about it in the context then of the fact that there is a big issue in our country, which is: We are not taking care of workers who need time off to care for themselves or people in their families.  And it’s just not right. 

So, again, Build Back Better is going to address that in many ways.  If we pass Build Back Better, in terms of your small business — and congratulations on starting a small business — we also want to make sure that small businesses can better compete for workers, because we know that where you see paid family leave, it’s usually with the bigger companies who can afford it, but smaller businesses can’t. 

But we want our small businesses to be competitive, to do well.  Our small businesses in the United States — the last numbers I saw: Almost half of the American workforce works for a small business or owns a small business. 

So, let’s even the playing field — right? — both for the sake of supporting hardworking people, supporting our small businesses, and supporting our families.  And that really, at the heart of it, is part of the essence of what we are fighting for with the Build Back Better initiative. 

So, thank you for telling your story.  How’s your son doing?

MS. WOODY:  He is fantastic.  No one heals like a 13-year-old.  He’s already back on his bike.  Thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, the teen years are — they are just extraordinary in many ways.  (Laughs.)  

You haven’t gotten there yet, Tammy.  (Laughter.)  But I’m just telling you.

MS. WOODY:  Be prepared.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you for sharing your story.  Right, exactly.

MS. WOODY:  Thank you so much.  

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

MS. POO:  Thank you so much, Madam Vice President.  

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter once said there are only four kinds of people: people who are caregivers or will be caregivers, and people who need care or will need care.

We’ve heard four different care stories today, and we’ve seen how substantive government support could change our lives.  

These are all of our stories.  And, together, they tell a shared story about how urgent and important this support is to millions of us across the country.  Care unites us all.  

And as we’ve heard from Senator Duckworth and Vice President Harris, the Build Back Better Agenda will provide that support to Americans everywhere.  It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lift up our families, to help us work, and to secure our future.  It’s truly historic.  

So, thank you so much to our engaged audience for joining us today.  And thank you to Joan, to Tori, to Stephanie, and Nicole and your whole family, for sharing your experiences as care workers and as family caregivers and people who need this assistance.  

And thank you to all the caregivers out there watching for all that you do.  I hope today was a reminder that you are not alone.  

And, finally, thank you to Senator Duckworth and Vice President Harris for your leadership; for taking the time to hear these stories and share your own; for championing real solutions, finally; and for helping us understand how the Build Back Better Agenda can address some of the most pressing issues we face every single day.  

Each of us has a role to play in making sure that we have the care infrastructure we need to thrive.  Call your senators.  Call them today.  Tell them you support Build Back Better with investments in childcare, paid leave, and homecare.  

Together, let’s make sure all Americans get the support we need because care can’t wait.

                        END            10:45 A.M. EDT

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