What We’re Watching in Congress – February 2021

We are now one month into the 117th Congress and members in the House and Senate have already begun work on a number of bills important to families in the 1,000-day window. Here are a few things we’re keeping an eye on:

COVID relief: House and Senate pass budget resolution

Last week, the House and Senate voted to advance a budget resolution, the first step towards passing President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion proposed American Rescue Plan. This much-needed coronavirus relief package would advance a number of 1,000 Days’ key priorities, investing $3 billion in WIC, extending a provision to increase the maximum SNAP benefit to food insecure families, provided $11 billion in much needed funding for key global health programs and extending and expanding the emergency paid sick days and paid leave tax credits originally passed last year, but unfortunately without the mandate that employers provide workers with much-needed leave. Additionally, the package would create a national vaccination program and provide emergency funding to state and local governments to support programs like Medicaid. While the details of the package are still being finalized, as proposed, it would provide significant relief to families, allowing them to stay healthy and secure amidst the ongoing pandemic. 1,000 Days will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to advance policies to improve the health and wellbeing of moms, babies and their families, in the U.S. and around the world.

Important paid leave bill reintroduced

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) reintroduced the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMILY) Act last week, with nearly 200 cosponsors in the House and more than 30 in the Senate. The FAMILY Act, which was reintroduced on the 28th anniversary of passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act, would create a comprehensive, national paid family and medical leave program. Whether for a public health emergency, a personal health emergency, or when welcoming a new child, families need access to paid leave to attend to their own health needs and those of their loved ones without risking their economic security. Now more than ever, paid leave is a public health imperative. 1,000 Days is pleased to endorse the FAMILY Act and we will continue working closely with our partners and champions in Congress to make paid leave a reality for all workers and all families.

Legislation offered to address the Black maternal health crisis

This week, Reps. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Alma Adams (D-NC), co-chairs of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, as well as Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) are reintroducing the Black Maternal Health MOMNIBUS Act. This comprehensive, bipartisan legislation, which 1,000 Days is proud to endorse, aims to improve the physical and mental health of moms in the United States and address the Black maternal health crisis. The MOMNIBUS takes a holistic, broad approach to addressing the social determinants of health, investing in data collection, growing and diversifying the health workforce, and combating implicit bias in healthcare settings. 1,000 Days looks forward to continuing to work with the Black Maternal Health Caucus and its members to ensure that all moms, regardless of their race, class or immigration status, can have a healthy first 1,000 days and beyond.