Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement in response to President Biden’s “American Families Plan,” the second of a two-part package of investments intended to help the nation build back better. The first package released at the end of March was focused on infrastructure.

“President Biden understands that investing in America means investing in American families.

“This pandemic has exposed glaring weaknesses in our economy that leave millions of people vulnerable in difficult periods and prevent far too many from getting ahead even during good times. When American families cannot afford child care, college, health care or care for loved ones who are sick, America is not as strong as it could be—nor as strong as other competing countries.

“Among OECD countries, America ranks 28th of 38 in early childhood education enrollment, 35th of 37 in investments in early care and education, 14th of 37 for college attainment, 32nd of 37 for health care coverage while spending the most and 36th of 36 for parental leave—in addition to being among the few that do not have paid family and medical leave policies.

“We can do better—much better, and President Biden’s American Families Plan, paid for by making sure the wealthy and well-connected pay their fair share, will help us do just that. We are already crafting legislation on the House Ways and Means Committee that incudes up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave and other key elements of this plan. I am pleased to see that President Biden's plan for paid family and medical leave includes bereavement leave, which I have long championed in the House and will work to ensure remains in the proposal as it moves through Congress.

“President Biden is meeting the moment by proposing once-in-a-century investments that will help reimagine and rebuild our economy. I am especially encouraged that he agrees with those of us who have been outspoken about the need to strengthen unemployment benefits, both for this recession and for future downturns, with benefits tied to economic conditions. Congress must work with the Administration to reform our unemployment system and ensure increased benefits reach all who need them for the duration of economic duress."

Chairman Beyer is the sponsor of the Worker Relief and Security Act, legislation that would tie enhanced unemployment benefits to economic conditions, and led House Democrats in a bicameral push seeking unemployment reform as part of the American Families Plan.