Jul 21, 2020
Joe Biden Child and Elder Care Plan Speech Transcript July 21
Joe Biden gave a speech on July 21 outlining his $775 billion plan to support working parents and caregivers. Read the full transcript of his speech here.
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Joe Biden: (01:15)
Good afternoon, everybody. I want to thank the Colonial Early Education Program, Aaron Callwick center for hosting us tonight. I just met Sarah Johnson. I thought I saw Sarah somewhere in here, but she has her three year old son, Noah, who’s a student here. She said this program does wonders helping Noah learn his letters and numbers and socialize with other kids and understand his emotions and develop his personality. And I met him. He’s a bright, cute young man. But like so many parents, she’s worried. She’s worried about her job as a dental assistant and the notching changes and what she has to do to make things work, as she’s noticing changes in Noah’s behavior, since he hasn’t been in school since March. As a matter of fact, he said to the principal, “Where’s my teacher? Can I stay here and play?” We were in his classroom.
Joe Biden: (02:15)
And she’s had to lean on her parents, which many, many people have to do to help her get through it. And it’s really tough, but parents like Sarah, places like this center and the caregivers and educators that work here also give me a great deal of hope. Reinforcing my absolute determination that I’m pushing for over two years to triple the amount of money for Title I schools in those districts like this one, where every child, every child and Title I district is able to have the benefits of an education at three and four years age. That’s why I couldn’t think of a better place to talk about the third plank of mine Build Back Better plan for the economy. This is about easing the squeeze on working families who are raising their kids and caring for aging loved ones at the same time, sometimes separately, but many times together.
Joe Biden: (03:17)
And it’s about creating jobs with better pay and career pathways for caregivers and showing them that dignity and respect that they deserve. But I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard to think of a future when you’re just trying to get through the crisis at hand. I know that the case of childcare facilities across the nation is dire. People are looking for help desperately, and they’ve had to close their doors and lay off staff. And they’re not getting the protective equipment they need to reopen. The virus hotspots where they exist, and they exist all over the nation, they can’t reopen it all. And we’re in a childcare emergency and it didn’t have to be this way. That’s why I’m calling on the president to get the facilities and the resources and the equipment that are needed and get them to them now. Enough. Each day, the pandemic death toll grows each day, in some states, more people test positive the day before, an each day too many American workers are still out of work and losing hope.
Joe Biden: (04:24)
It’s been reported by the president’s staff, that the president is quote, “Not really working this anymore.” He doesn’t want to be distracted by it. Doesn’t want to be distracted by it. His own staff admits that Donald Trump fails the most important test of being an American president, the duty to care for you, for all of you. It’s also been reported that he’ll block any funding for more testing and tracing in the next COVID relief bill, which is being discussed right now on the floor of the United States Congress, just as states report record cases and hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise.
Joe Biden: (05:12)
This man simply doesn’t understand. He can’t deal with our economic crisis without serving and saving and solving the public health crisis. For all his bluster about his expertise on the economy, he’s unable to explain how he’ll actually help working families hit the hardest. Now he’s quit on you and he’s quit on this country. But this election is not just about him. It’s about us. It’s about you. It’s about what we’ll do. What a president’s supposed to do. President’s supposed to care, to lead, to take responsibility, to never give up. That’s what presidents are supposed to do.
Joe Biden: (05:59)
Over the last two weeks I’ve shared my agenda for economic recovery. I call it Build Back Better because we can’t just build back to the way things were before. We have to do it better. And the first plank of my Build Back Better plan rejects the defeatist view that automation and globalization mean we can assure American workers lead to a future made in America. Made in America.
Joe Biden: (06:28)
The second plank helps us out compete the rest of the world and tackle climate change. I’ll put millions of Americans to work in good union jobs, modernizing their infrastructure, while building a clean energy future, increasing jobs. Today I’m outlining the third plank in my Build Back Better program, mobilizing a 21st century care and elderly childhood education workforce, to deal with the caregiving crisis. And it’s a crisis in this country. If we truly want to reward work in this country, we have to ease the financial burden of care that families are carrying. We have to elevate the compensation of those providing the care, the benefits and dignity of caregiving workers and early childhood educators. Even before the pandemic, millions of working families are faced with enormous financial personal strains trying to raise their kids and care for their parents or loved ones who are living with disabilities.
Joe Biden: (07:39)
This is the so called sandwich generation. Includes everyone from an 18 year old daughter caring for her mom who suddenly gets sick to a 40 year old dad raising his child and caring for his own aging parents. The joy and love are always there, but it’s hard. I know it’s hard. It’s really, really hard. Families are squeezed emotionally and financially. They need help, but too often, they can’t afford it. And the professional caregivers out there, the home health care workers, childcare workers, are more often women, women of color and immigrants are too often underpaid, unseen and undervalued. The pandemic hits and squeezes and tightens on everybody. Nursing homes have been hit hard. If you’re a frontline worker, you struggle to find safe childcare for your kids. Others of you have become unexpected 24/7 caregivers trying to keep your children safe and learning while you continue to work remotely from home.
Joe Biden: (08:52)
If you had to put your career on hold indefinitely, or seen your hours cut, or your job lost, the confusion, the confusion over school reopening only makes things worse. In the last few months has only underscored how vital it is for families and older Americans to have more home care and community care choices that fit their real needs. We’re trapped in a caregiving crisis within an economic crisis, within a healthcare crisis. You’re doing everything you can, but this president is not.
Joe Biden: (09:31)
If I’m your president, here’s what I would do. First, let’s start by caring for aging relatives and loved ones with disabilities, helping them live independently. Here’s an example. Right now there are 800,000 people who are eligible for home and community care through Medicaid who have already signed up for it. But they’re waiting for a phone call, phone call back. For some the wait is five years. Five years. My plan makes a bold investment so states can clear the waiting list. To make sure we ease the financial burden for more families going forward, we have to make the long term federal investments. We’ll have a major innovation fund that allow states to test and expand successful ways to improve home and community care and increase prevention and reduce the cost of hospitalization.
Joe Biden: (10:33)
Think of expanded vital services like rides to appointments, meals, day programs for seniors, making their home safer for them. It builds on an innovative and created provision under the Affordable Care Act. The very program the president ceaselessly is trying to gut. For example, there was a pilot program now in 27 cities, in 16 states where a nurse, an occupational therapist and a handyman come to the home that’s caring for an aging family member. They might not be able to cure a mom’s Alzheimer’s, but they can make sure she doesn’t break her hip. So they walk through the house. This is what’s going on now. And they install handrails in the right spots in the house, in the bathroom, or they fix the door or that’s stuck so she doesn’t trip while she tries to open it. It initially found that about $3,000 in program costs yield more than $20,000 in saving to the government from hospitalization for other reasons. Simple steps to save lives, save money, and provide critical peace of mind.
Joe Biden: (11:50)
Here’s another example. Whether you live in rural North Carolina, central Philadelphia, people of color are economically distressed communities faced punishing health disparities from a system of systemic discrimination. They don’t have health insurance. They don’t see a doctor. Sometimes language is a barrier and they slip through the cracks, slip through the gaps. So their treatable condition, because they can’t afford to go to the doctor, becomes a chronic condition. That’s why community health workers are real heroes. They go into these communities. They make sure folks are getting the care they need. My plan puts to work 150,000 more of these workers in our communities throughout the country. These are the things we can do now.
Joe Biden: (12:42)
Secondly, we can also make high quality childcare affordable and accessible. My childcare plan is straightforward, straightforward. Every three and four year old child will get access to free high quality preschool like students have here. And low and middle income families won’t spend more than 7% of their income on childcare for children under the age of five. The most hard pressed working families most would have to spend a dime. Here’s how it works. They can either decide to get up to an $8,000 tax credit for childcare for middle class family with a couple of young kids spending 300 bucks a week in childcare, that means an annual savings of $8,000 in their pocket because it’s a tax credit. It means everything for working families, living paycheck to paycheck. Or the federal government would send funding to states, which then work with childcare providers to cover the costs for working families with young children, over 7% of their income would not have to be spent.
Joe Biden: (13:58)
So say, both parents are working, working and need childcare. You go to childcare.gov, which is created under the Obama Biden administration to help find childcare that works for you. Under my plan, it takes you to your state website. Local childcare centers pop up. You can call or fill in your information. You apply to which one you want to go to. The state then sends you a letter saying you’re approved and lays out the amount you’re going to pay. The state sends that information to the childcare provider and then the state reimburses the childcare center on the back end. You just pay what you’re supposed to pay, not a dime for some working families and no more than 7% for anyone else. You can do that. This would save families thousands of dollars, but more importantly, give them a peace of mind.
Joe Biden: (15:00)
There’s other common sense steps we can take, like expanding tax credits for businesses to build childcare facilities onsite. So you can go to work with your child, put them in a childcare center that the company got money for a tax credit for building, supporting more and more and giving peace of mind to a family. And when you’re finished work, take that child home. Supporting more after care weekend and summer care programs for families.
Joe Biden: (15:31)
Third, we expand access to caregiving. We need to pay and support caregivers beyond what they are now. They’re doing God’s work, but home health workers aren’t paid much, they have few benefits. 40% are still on SNAP or Medicaid. So my plan is direct. It gives caregivers and early childhood educators a much needed raise. No one should have to work more than one job to make ends meet. Under my health care plan that defends and expands Obamacare, there’ll be more affordable health insurance. I’ll make sure these workers have an effective way to unionize and collectively bargain to protect their rights and earn benefits. This plan will help workers, especially those without a college degree, help them gain new skills in good paying industries like healthcare and provides new pathways to advance their careers. For example, a home healthcare worker can have access to training needed to become an EMT or a nurse or physician’s assistant or even a doctor. Or the early childhood educator can receive coaching to keep delivering high quality learning experience. We can do this.
Joe Biden: (16:53)
The bottom line is that a mobilized caregiving and early education workforce would save families time and money, get their loved ones the care and early childhood education they need, and put more people to work, allowing husbands and wives to go back to work and providing many people the opportunity to get a job that’s a decent job caring. It keeps seniors in their homes. It’s a triple win. If they choose that. And recognize the realities facing modern families and provides them a much needed economic support in the middle of a pandemic.
Joe Biden: (17:33)
Just imagine if we can put three million Americans to work in new care and early childhood education and combined with my proposal to provide families with up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and medical leave, we can free up millions more people to join the paid labor force, increasing economic growth, meaning at least two million additional jobs, more economic growth for the nation. This is a fresh, bold way to build a critical part of the labor force and help us recover faster and stronger.
Joe Biden: (18:11)
When we usually talk about jobs packages there’s a big push on shovel-ready jobs. I’m the guy who you may remember managed the Recovery Act of 800 plus billion dollars. We’re always focused on shovel-ready jobs. What we can do immediately to get the money out to communities, but that’s what care jobs are. They are shovel-ready. The workers are ready now. These jobs can be filled now. Allowing millions of people, primarily women to get back to work now. Increasing the growth of the GDP and family income. That’s the right thing to do for our families and our most essential workers. And it’s a smart thing to do for our economy.
Joe Biden: (18:59)
Today millions of our people can’t fully pursue the jobs and careers they dream of due to the caregiving squeeze. That means tens of billions of dollars less in wages each year for our working families. It means more disruption for our business, fewer jobs and growth in our economy, slow. This is both a moral and an economic imperative for the nation in my view. And the way we pay for it is by rolling back unproductive tax cuts, some of the $2 trillion tax cut the president put through. Closing loopholes, unproductive tax cuts for high income real estate investors while ensuring high income earners pay their tax bills.
Joe Biden: (19:48)
We invest that, that would add up to $775 billion over 10 years. We invest that in building our economy back better than it was before, growing the economy stronger. Tomorrow I’ll be joining a virtual town hall with the SCIU members, home care workers, fast food workers, janitors, to hear directly from them about why this matters so much to them. Because you see, this is about something bigger. This is about dignity and respect for working people. And that’s precisely what this election is all about. Dignity and respect. The American people know they’re not being afforded dignity and respect in many of their jobs. And the American president has a duty to care for all of us, to see people where they are to understand what they’re through and what they want to be.
Joe Biden: (20:52)
As many of you know, I was a single parent for five years after my wife and daughter were killed and my two boys were badly injured. Even though I had a lot more support than a lot of people going through tough times today, it was hard. It was hard. If I didn’t have my mom, my sister and my brother, I don’t know how I’d been able to afford it. Then six years later when Jill and I got married, I said, how difficult was for her to start her teaching career while being a new mom with two kids in school. We care. Well, actually they weren’t in school yet now that I think about it, we cared for our parents at the end. My dad was months in hospice in our home, same with my mom and our entire family was there for our son Bo when he came home from a year in Iraq with a cancer that wasn’t whether he’d live, it’s just how long he would live.
Joe Biden: (21:57)
We know what it’s like, months upon months. We know so many of you are going through the same thing without the kind of help I had. But now everything, everything feels different. There’s just that feeling, that sense where you just don’t know if everything’s going to turn out okay, but I’m here to tell you that it can be, and it will be. My dad was an honorable decent man. His great regret, he never got to go to college. My dad like many of your parents, got knocked down a few times, but he always got back up. He worked hard to build a great middle class life for our family in Mayfield [inaudible 00:22:53] . But he used to have a saying, he’d say, “Joey, I don’t expect the government to solve my problems, but I sure in hell expect them to understand my problem.”
Joe Biden: (23:07)
I understand to my very core. And I also know that together, we can do this. This is America. We don’t settle. We aspire and we succeed. So let’s get the heck up and get it done. Let’s get to work. As I go out my grandpa, heard me say this many times, go up to my grandpop’s house up in Scranton when dad lost his job, where he lived with my grandpa. Every time he’d walk out of the house, he’d yell, “Joey, keep the faith.” And my grandmom would yell, “No, Joey, spread it.” Let’s go spread the faith. We can do this. There’s not a single thing we cannot do. Thank you for listening. I look forward to having your questions at another time, but I’m off to another event. Thank you, Principal. Thank you for having us here. Appreciate it very, very much. Thank you, [inaudible 00:24:08]