FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2022
Statement from C. Nicole Mason, President and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research on the omnibus government funding bill released by the Senate Appropriations Committee this week
Washington, D.C. — The omnibus spending bill released this week represents an ongoing investment in critical programs across the government, and IWPR applauds congressional leadership for reaching an agreement and avoiding a government shutdown. However, the $1.7 trillion bill – which comes at the end of what has been a particularly challenging year for women in the United States – falls short in several key areas of what is critically needed for women and families across the country.
IWPR applauds several provisions in the bill, including the historic investment in child care for low-income families, with $8 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. This increased funding – 30 percent over current levels — is critical as evidence shows that federal spending on child care subsidies have not kept pace with actual child care costs, leaving parents without access to child care. For many women, access to child care can mean the difference between returning to work or not.
However, in a devastating blow, lawmakers left out the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). This bill has already been approved by the House but has been held up in the Senate for over a year – despite enjoying bipartisan support. PWFA contains critical provisions to protect pregnant workers from discrimination, and the clock is running out to get this legislation across the finish line before the end of the year. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer must make pregnant women a priority and find a way to bring PWFA to the Senate floor immediately.
In a further blow to families, the draft omnibus also left out the expanded Child Tax Credit, which expired in 2021 but helped to cut child poverty by nearly 50 percent.
Elsewhere in the bill, lawmakers upheld the status quo but failed to make investments that have never been more critical. In the first spending bill since the fall of Roe v. Wade, the Title X family planning program – the key program that provides contraception to low-income women nationwide – was once again flat-funded. At a time of real reproductive health crisis, this failure to provide the program with a much-needed increase is devastating.
Despite a number of key investments, this week’s bill makes clear: we have a lot of work still to do to ensure that elected officials keep their promises to women.
Contact: IWPR Staff, firstname.lastname@example.org