Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), the Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), issued the following statement to mark Equal Pay Day, a date that symbolizes the large disparity between the annual wages earned by a typical (median) man and typical woman. In order for the median woman to earn what the median man did in 2018—the last year for which annual data are available—the median woman would have to work all of 2018 plus January, February and March of 2019.

For additional context, including how the coronavirus could affect the gender wage gap, check out the JEC’s latest brief “Equal Pay Day 2020.”

“The loss in wages as a result of the gender wage gap isn’t just a loss for women and their families, it’s a loss for our economy—year after year we lose out on billions of dollars in economic activity because women don’t make as much as men.

“Currently the typical woman makes about 82 cents for every dollar the typical man makes. The gap is even wider for Black, Latina, and Native American women and could get worse as a result of the coronavirus—in homes and hospitals across the country, women are on the frontlines of fighting the virus since they’re overrepresented in the healthcare industry and still do a disproportionate share of unpaid housework. School and daycare closures will also force many women to stay home even if they can’t afford to.

“By addressing gender wage discrimination, the Paycheck Fairness Act would help close the gender wage gap. However, it has been a year since House Democrats passed this legislation and Senate Republicans—all of whom have mothers and grandmothers, and many of whom have daughters and wives—have still not brought it up for a vote. As an original cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act who was proud to testify in support of it at a House hearing and vote for passage last year, I only have one question for them: What are you waiting for?

“I look forward to the year when I don’t have to mark this day with a statement, when women don’t have to work three additional months to earn what men did the previous year.”

Last year, Congressman Beyer testified at the House Committee on Education and Labor’s hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act, and was an original cosponsor of the legislation. The legislation passed the Democratic-controlled House on March 27, 2019, but still hasn’t been taken up by the Republican-controlled Senate.

Congressman Beyer hosts an annual conference in his district focused on women’s empowerment and professional development, featuring advice for women in the workplace from successful businesswomen. He joined with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to hold a gender parity forum in 2017, and worked with her to introduce the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act and the Gender Diversity in Corporate Leadership Act.

Congressman Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Washington, DC.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, released the following statement on the third stimulus package passed by Congress to address the public health and economic impacts of the coronavirus. The package totaled $2 trillion.

“The only way we will get the economy going again is by first containing the spread of the coronavirus. This bipartisan bill will help us do that by providing public health and economic resources to cities, states and hospitals, as well as those who are doing what experts are saying we all must – staying home to flatten the curve.

“Workers who lose their jobs will have 100% of their wages replaced, including those who are self-employed or contractors and were—until now—previously ineligible for unemployment insurance. These same workers will also receive direct cash payments from the federal government, a progressive policy that I was among the first to push for. There’s also substantial support for small businesses that lose customers or are under state or local directives to close temporarily.

“In addition, the Marshall Plan for hospitals will enable them to care for the rapidly rising number of coronavirus patients and buy the much needed medical supplies they’re running out of. In no country should healthcare workers have to make their own masks but that’s what’s happening right now at hospitals across America. I urge the President to help hospitals out soon by using the powers he has under the Defense Production Act.

“As Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, I’ll continue to closely monitor how the economy is doing over the coming weeks. The American people will need sustained help from their government to weather this crisis, and Congress must take every action necessary to protect their health and prevent another Great Depression.”

Beyer was among the first in government to call for direct payments to support families. He helped shape negotiations on the stimulus package as Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee and as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Read the JEC-Democrats’ recent brief, "Thursday’s Initial Unemployment Claims Will Be Key"—for additional context. See also Vice Chair Beyer’s recent op-ed, “We Need a Massive Economic Response to Counter the Threat of the Coronavirus.”

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), the Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the Department of Labor reported that first-time unemployment claims for the week ending March 21 reached a record 3,283,000. The release is the first real look at how the coronavirus has impacted businesses and the workers they employ.

“These numbers are far worse than anything we saw during the Great Recession. We need to move quickly to help those that are getting hurt. It not only protects those families but it protects the economy—so everyone benefits.

“That is why the bill passed by the Senate to increase unemployment insurance by an extra $600 a week for four months and make billions available for small business grants and loan payments is so important—only Congress can make sure that those who are out of work right now, and the small businesses that employ them, do not go broke.

“It is vital that the federal government continue to follow the directives of medical professionals and public health experts, and not yield to the urge to ‘reopen’ the economy too soon. Doing so could cost lives and drastically deepen and prolong the damage to the economy. Stopping this pandemic and protecting human life is the most important thing we can do, and it is also the best thing we can do for the economy. I continue to urge all who can to please stay home.”

Read the JEC-Democrats’ recent brief, "Thursday’s Initial Unemployment Claims Will Be Key"—for additional context. See also Vice Chair Beyer’s recent op-ed, “We Need a Massive Economic Response to Counter the Threat of the Coronavirus.”

Congressman Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

By Rep. Don Beyer | March 18, 2020

The United States is facing what could become the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. We must therefore take immediate, large-scale, once-in-a-century action to protect our public health and our economy.

Just like the coronavirus pandemic itself, it is hard to imagine the magnitude of the possible economic devastation. A recent poll finds that almost one-fifth of American families report having lost their jobs or had their hours reduced because of coronavirus. Kevin Hassett, the former Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, says we could lose up to 1 million jobs this month. The stock market has dropped more than 30 percent from its peak. Goldman Sachs lowered its first-quarter GDP growth forecast to zero and estimates that GDP will contract at a 5 percent annual rate in the second quarter. Economists believe that the global pandemic has caused a global recession.

The economic threat we face is massive because the steps we must take to contain the virus—especially staying home—will inevitably harm our economy. Seven million Bay Area residents already are sheltering in place; residents of other major cities may soon join them. As of Wednesday, thirty-nine states have closed public schools, with 42 million children home from school. The NBA, NHL, MLB and other major sports leagues have shut down. Broadway shows, festivals and concerts have been canceled.

When stores and stadiums are empty and our cities look like ghost towns, consumer spending—the lifeblood of the economy—will lessen by hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars. The implosion in spending will lead to millions of fewer jobs, to even less spending—a downward spiral with no obvious end in sight.

The Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented action to stimulate the slowing economy by slashing rates to almost zero percent, buying $700 billion in bonds to stabilize financial markets and launching a commercial paper facility to ensure companies have a market for their short-term debt. However, even these bold emergency measures may not be enough.

Congress and the White House must work together to lessen the economic damage by injecting stimulus into the weakening economy. It is essential to provide large-scale support for small businesses who have lost customers and had to shutter operations. And we should put money directly into the hands of those who will be hurt most by measures necessary to contain the virus—workers who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut drastically and employees who have done the right thing and stopped going to work because they were sick. It is critical to provide laid-off workers substantially higher unemployment benefits for an extended period of time.

We should cut a large check to American families to give them the means to support their families and the economy, and we should be prepared to do it regularly until the economy begins to recover. Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) have proposed providing a $2,000 payment for each adult and child immediately with additional payments in the summer and fall if the nation is still facing a crisis.

One of the most effective forms of economic stimulus would be to substantially increase the portion of Medicaid costs covered by the federal government. Medicaid costs will soon explode as workers around the country lose their jobs, putting enormous pressure on state governments, many of which are forced to balance their budgets. The states desperately need our help to avoid cutting Medicaid in the middle of a public health crisis. The recent House-passed bill moved us in the right direction—we need to go even further.

If the estimates of the probable economic devastation of the coronavirus are correct, the fiscal stimulus should be substantially larger than the over $900 billion (in today’s dollars) in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which in 2009 helped begin to pull the economy out of the worst of the recession. The White House is calling for $1.2 trillion—even that may be too little. Let’s shoot higher—$1.5 trillion for a start—with more kicking in if conditions continue to deteriorate. Fiscal policy makers need to match the willingness of monetary policy authorities to do “whatever it takes” and ensure that the size of our response scales with the loss in spending elsewhere in the economy.

We must be bold and move quickly. This is no time for a wait-and-see approach or for half measures. As someone who grew a successful business that thrived for decades, I know that “penny-wise-and-pound-foolish” and “too-little-too-late” can be fatal errors. Ten years from now, I would rather look back and have done too much than too little or too late. For the sake of our country, let us work together to quickly craft an economic response equal to the massive economic threat before us.

Don Beyer represents Virginia’s 8th District and is vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee. You can follow him on Twitter at @RepDonBeyer. You can follow the Joint Economic Committee Democrats on Twitter at @JECDems.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, during a morning interview on the Yahoo Finance program “On the Move," Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), discussed the likely devastating economic impact of the coronavirus and the need for additional strong policy responses.

Interviewer: What’s the hold up here? In a partisan Washington, can we get a productive bill through that is going to help people right now when they need it?

VC Beyer: Julie, I sure hope so. I know that on the Democratic side in the House, we were on the phone for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon putting together all the pieces. Our staffs, Ways and Means, Appropriations, they have been working around the clock, literally overnight, so I’m hoping that we’ll have Phase 3
— first of all we’d like to get Phase 2 passed in the Senate today—but we’ll have Phase 3 ready by the end of the week and then Phase 4 after that. So, yeah, it is URGENT, all capital letters.

You can watch the interview here. Additional excerpts from the interview are below.

On Getting Money into the Hands of Consumers

VC Beyer: The bill we passed Friday night was directed at the people who need it most, you know the health care workers, the waitresses and waiters, the auto mechanics...So I really like the idea of the direct payments. I was glad to see Mitt Romney among others come out for that. Every economist that I’ve talked to so far says we need to [put cash in the hands of] the people that are consuming, that are buying, that are going to be missing paychecks right now—and you don’t do that through a payroll tax cut.

On Federal Reserve Opening a Commercial Paper Facility

Interviewer: Talk to us about your thinking around this latest monetary policy move.

VC Beyer: I think it’s a really good thing and it may be more important than the Sunday afternoon announcement to the zero percent, which was probably more symbolic. But the notion that a lot more commercial paper will be available to small and medium sized businesses is a good thing.

On the House-Passed Stimulus Bill in the Senate

VC Beyer: You know, in the bill that the House passed early Saturday morning, it’s in the Senate right now, [we] did a lot in terms of paycheck[s] —guaranteed [ten]-day sick leave, extension of unemployment benefits, things that are trying to maintain the income flow to the workers. But we also have to be concerned about the small to medium sized businesses and even large businesses. We have enormous pressure if we do lose one million jobs just in the month of March [as Kevin Hassett, President Trump’s former Council of Economic Advisers chair, has predicted].

On President Trump’s Payroll Tax Cut Proposal

Interviewer: How would [payroll tax cuts] be an undermining of what we are trying to achieve?

VC Beyer: Our Joint Economic Committee did a great analysis of this just a couple of days ago. The dilemma with the payroll tax cut is, even at two percent, that’s less than $9 a week for people making $25,000, which is a pretty big part of the country.

On the Potential Longer-Term Economic Impact of Coronavirus

Interviewer: What is going on [in Virginia]? What are you hearing from the small, medium sized businesses? I know you’re in quarantine right now, but just from your own constituents paint a picture for us…

VC Beyer: Well, I guess like New York the streets are empty. I took the dog around the block last night and not a single car passed me in 15 minutes. Many, many, many of the shops are closed either from fear of the coronavirus or because nobody was coming in to begin with. So we need to be able to look ahead in some kind of optimistic way to when business can get back to normal, even if its 60 days out or 90 days out. I’m hoping that the epidemiologists will come up soon with a protocol that says ‘here’s when life can start again.’ But one of the most interesting things is we’re all trying to do a really good job about flattening the contagion curve, but as you flatten it you make it a lot longer – that means a lot longer before the businesses start to recover.

About Congressman Beyer

Congressman Beyer represents Virginia’s 8th District, which encompasses Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County. He serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. He was the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 1990 to 1998, and Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein under President Obama.

About the JEC

The JEC is a joint House-Senate committee that holds hearings and issues reports to help inform Congress’ actions on economic issues. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) is Chairman of the Committee in the 116th Congress. Senator Lee and Representative Beyer are joined by nine Republican and nine Democratic members.

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, issued the following statement in response to the emergency action taken by the Federal Reserve:

"The Federal Reserve’s bold move underscores the economic threat to the global economy posed by the spread of the coronavirus. Congress will need to build on the step taken by the House on Friday with additional fiscal stimulus to support workers impacted and to bolster the economy. 

"We will need to identify the most efficient ways to get money to in the hands of those who will need it most—low-income households—who are also most likely to spend it. In only three days we’ve gone from considering whether we are facing a recession to a sole and correct focus on reducing the severity of a coming recession.

"The House, as it should be, is already working on the third phase of the response. Congress needs to go big and go fast. We need to do everything we can to avoid a recession like that of 2008."

At Weekly Democratic Presser, Vice Chair Beyer Emphasizes Economic Impact of the Coronavirus

“Yes, among many other things,” Beyer said when asked whether Democrats are considering direct cash payments to those affected as part of a fiscal response

Mar 10 2020

WASHINGTON—Today, at the House Democratic Caucus weekly press conference, Congressman Don Beyer (VA-8), the Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC) emphasized that the coronavirus isn’t just a public health crisis, but also an economic one.

After the press conference, when asked whether Democrats are considering direct cash payments to those affected as part of a fiscal response, Beyer said, “Yes, among many other things,” before explaining why the payroll tax cut President Trump is proposing will do very little to stimulate the economy.

Reporter: Some economists are calling for direct cash payments to people who’ve been affected by the virus. Is that something that’s on the tables?

Beyer: Yes, among many other things. Part of the dilemma with the payroll tax cut is that if you’ve lost your job, or you’re in the gig economy, or many other things, [then] you’re not going to get anything. Or if you’re with so many Americans making $25,000 or less, then it ends up being like $10 a week, [which is] not enough to really do anything. So among the many things that we must consider to get the stimulus going again, direct payments will at least be part of that.

Below are Congressman Beyer’s remarks as delivered.

The outbreak of the coronavirus is a public health crisis that has infected tens of thousands of people in the U.S. and abroad.

In Virginia, there are already five confirmed cases, two in my district. I found out a good friend of mine in D.C. is in the hospital right now with coronavirus.

These people, their families and everyone else who has been infected by this virus are very much in my thoughts.

Our overwhelming concern is about public health—lives are at stake—and this appears to be the most serious public health crisis in our lifetimes.

President Trump’s incompetent leadership on the coronavirus is really hurting our response, which in turn is hurting the economy.

As the number of cases proliferates and fear spreads, markets have plunged into chaos, and there are even more ominous signs that more might be coming.

Treasury bonds are now trading below 1 percent yields, that zero threshold is in sight, and it’s a strong indicator of possible recession.

Businesses are suffering, too, because of the coronavirus’s impact on supply chains.

Consumer spending, which as you all know has been a main engine of economic growth, is likely to fall as Americans are forced to cut back on their usual activities.

Service industries will be particularly hard hit.

The effects could ripple through the economy.

Goldman Sachs is now predicting ZERO economic growth for the second quarter.

Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has said that the coronavirus “could throw the United States into a recession.”

The Federal Reserve has little room left to cut interest rates after the cuts last year to compensate for the damages of President Trump’s trade wars and what they did to farmers, businesses and consumers.

Stopping all this depends on stopping the spread of the disease. That is where the priority must be.

Last week, we passed an $8 billion emergency bill to address, principally, the public health emergency, with investments for treatment and research.

Now we are in talks to figure out what we need to do next to further strengthen the response and prevent this outbreak from getting even worse.

So focusing on economic symptoms first is the wrong approach. If we just want to protect the economy, the very first thing we have to do is protect public health and the people directly impacted by the coronavirus.

This means workers who have to stay home because of a quarantine, because their child is ill or because their child’s school is closed, and make sure that they receive sick pay. We don’t want people to have to choose between a paycheck and preventing the spread of the disease.

It also means that people can get tested and, if necessary, get treated for coronavirus without having to fear about crushing medical debt. The last thing we want is people not to get tested because they can’t afford it, not to get treated because they’re afraid they can’t afford it.

It also means that ensuring that workers who are laid off because of the virus have access to unemployment benefits.

It means making sure that people, especially kids, who depend on social services for food—I think about all the kids on the Route 1 corridor in Alexandria, these kids depend on school breakfasts and school lunches—that they don’t go hungry.

It means supporting small businesses that are having to make do without employees and without customers.

That’s why we included some low-interest loans to small businesses in the emergency bill last week, but more can be done and there are a lot of good economic proposals out there.

The American people understand that there is a serious and growing threat to the economy, but they are still mostly concerned about getting sick.

Let’s be clear—the most important thing President Trump could do to protect the economy would be to lead an effective response to the coronavirus outbreak. His performance on public health and what happens to the economy are deeply intertwined.

That’s why I’m so concerned.

The White House has been discussing emergency measures, but so far the President’s economic efforts have consisted of bluff, bluster and confusing the public health messaging.

In a crisis as serious as this one, we need competent leadership.

One more thing before I turn it over to my colleague Dr. Ruiz.

27 million Americans don’t have health care coverage in this economy. Among the lower quarter, mostly our retail workers or food service workers, 50 percent don’t have health care and 43 million don’t have paid sick leave.

Bottomline: These are the folks who could make this epidemic truly disastrous if they are not paid for when they get sick, if they are not compensated for when they lose their jobs.

Bottomline: If we want to protect public health, if we want to protect the economy, from the coronavirus and future outbreaks, we need to make sure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care and paid sick leave.

We’ve been talking about paid sick leave for years and it’s really unfortunate that it takes a crisis like this to finally get the attention of the White House.

With that, let me turn this over to one of the most distinguished physicians in the U.S. House and in our country who has been giving us lots of good advice along the way—Dr. Ruiz.

Thank you.

Congressman Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), the Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, released the following statement in response to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that nonfarm payroll employment grew by 273,000 in February and the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

“It’s difficult to celebrate given the coming impact of the coronavirus, which may soon make this report irrelevant. The outbreak will pose a substantial threat to both public health and the economy if the administration is not able to contain it. We need to focus on the immense challenges ahead.

“The President’s ineffective response to the coronavirus has shaken the economy. The stock market is extremely volatile and to many people frightening, after suffering the worst weekly drop since the financial crisis. Businesses have more questions than answers right now because the President only offers obfuscation.

“The Fed took surprising action by cutting interest rates before its March meeting, and Congress passed an emergency supplemental bill that includes provisions that help small businesses—but we don’t know yet whether that will be enough to stabilize the economy. In the end, neither the Fed nor Congress will be able to overcome the President’s misinformation and missteps.

“In the manufacturing industry, which is in a recession, we’ve lost 5,000 jobs since the beginning of the year. Add to that the impact that the coronavirus and the trade wars are having on supply chains and we’re likely to see job growth in manufacturing that’s even more disappointing.

“In addition, although the President talked about a ‘blue-collar boom’ in the State of the Union, in recent months it’s been more like a bust. But by now we should know that the fact that the President says something doesn’t make it so. Wage growth has been slower than expected, and was again modest in February, and if it wasn’t for states that have increased the minimum wage, as a result of pressure from Democrats, many workers would be making even less.

“Americans are having to do more with less—and many work more than one job to make ends meet. Their wages aren’t keeping up with the costs of housing, health care and child care. In addition, too many Americans have yet to see anything trickle down from the President’s tax cuts for corporations and the rich, which will add $1.9 trillion to the national debt.”

Congressman Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. 

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), the Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, released the following statement on the Federal Reserve’s decision to cut interest rates by half a percentage point in response to concern that the coronavirus may hurt the U.S. economy.

“I welcome the Fed’s timely and aggressive action. It’s critical for the President to be equally aggressive in his efforts to protect public health, turning from complacency and denial to a coordinated, full-bore response. The Fed’s actions alone won’t calm markets and stabilize the economy – it will require presidential leadership and a level of competence that the administration has thus far failed to demonstrate.

“So far, the President’s failure to respond effectively to the coronavirus has put us at greater risk.

"Just yesterday, the CDC removed from its website the number of people who have been tested for the virus. When lives are at stake, the public needs more information from government – not less – that’s accurate, and not pseudoscience from the President.

“The President’s lack of leadership on the coronavirus won’t just hurt our health, it’s very likely that it will hurt our economy. The stock market already has suffered the worst weekly drop since the financial crisis. Businesses are at risk because their supply chains are interrupted – including the supplies of key medicines and medical supplies. In addition, markets for American exports are affected, as are imports from Asia at U.S. ports. Economists predict that the outbreak could have a substantial impact on GDP.

“Ironically, our public health and our economy are at risk in part because of our country’s failure to provide quality, affordable health coverage and paid sick leave to everyone. People without paid sick leave will go to work when, from a public health standpoint, they should stay home. This puts others at risk, multiplying the rate of infection. It’s time for us to realize that family-friendly policies, both quality, affordable health coverage and paid sick leave, are essential to maintaining public health and for safeguarding our economy.

“Instead of a president who plays politics when it comes to the human and economic impact of the virus – as the President did last week during his press conference – we need one who will actually lead. The coronavirus doesn’t care about the President’s pride or poll numbers.

“Ultimately, the lack of leadership coming from the President could make a bad situation worse, which would result in even more lives at stake. But it’s hard to be surprised by his ignorance and inaction since this is a president who wants to put Americans’ health at risk by cutting the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control budgets by billions.”

Washington, D.C.— Today, at a Joint Economic Committee (JEC) hearing on improving family stability, U.S. Congressman and JEC Vice Chair Don Beyer (D-VA) probed witnesses about the economic challenges facing families and what can be done at the federal level to support them.

“Some say that the stability of American families is just a matter of marriage and morals, but economic challenges are an overwhelming factor. We’re not returning to a ‘Leave-It-To-Beaver’ America, so it’s best that we focus on supporting families in whatever form they take,” Beyer said.  

“Family-friendly policies such as affordable childcare, paid family and medical leave and the earned income tax credit are essential for families to survive and thrive,” Beyer continued. “We need to strengthen and streamline these policies so they better reflect the reality of families.”

Read Beyer’s written opening statement here. Excerpts from the statement are below.

Fact 1: Teen pregnancy is at a record low.

  • “Between 1991 and 2015, the teen birth rate dropped by almost two-thirds, thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act.”

Fact 2: Declining marriage rates largely are a result of economic challenges.

  • “If you’re struggling financially, your wages haven’t gone up or you’ve lost your job—getting married is neither feasible nor practical.”

Fact 3: Americans want to get their economic footing before marriage.

  • “Young Americans today want to get their economic footing before they get married. They correctly understand that they must get an education or training to achieve financial success. If they wait longer to get married, it’s not because they are anti-marriage. It’s because they are pragmatic.”

Fact 4: Traditional family structures are not the only path to success.

  • “It’s true, that as people delay marriage, there are more babies born to unmarried parents. That holds across demographic groups and race. And it’s true in the United States and elsewhere.”
  • “It’s also true that fathers today spend significantly more time caring for their children than in previous generations—in fact, three times the amount as in 1965.”

Fact 5: Real challenges facing families are economic.

  • “Forty-four percent of workers earn just $18,000. And many are working two and three jobs.”

Fact 6: We should invest in proven programs.

  • “Increase the minimum wage. Expand the EITC. Provide affordable, quality child care. Protect nutritional supports. Ensure workers have real bargaining power—to negotiate wage increases, predictable hours and better working conditions.” 

Fact 7: We need “family-friendly” policies like paid leave

  • “I’m pleased and encouraged that federal workers will be able to take 12 weeks paid leave to care for a newborn or adopted child. We should expand that same policy to workers in the private sector.”

Fact 8: Government policies need to catch up to the way Americans live.

  • Finally, part of the challenge for families is that our government hasn’t kept pace with the way people are living their lives. For example, the share of multigenerational households is growing, but our policies haven’t changed.”

Congressman Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He represents the largest number of federal employees of any member of the House.