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Secretary Raimondo Joins Vice President Harris in Addressing Care Economy and Need to Invest in Human Infrastructure

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo joined Vice President Kamala Harris, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and other leaders and stakeholders in addressing the first-ever Care Can’t Wait Summit. The summit convened caregivers, care workers, people with disabilities, older adults, children, parents & grandparents, advocates & policy leaders virtually across the United States to build a stronger, broader base of support for public investment in the care infrastructure as part of the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan.

Today there are 53 million unpaid family caregivers in the United States. At the beginning of the pandemic, the childcare sector lost 400,000 jobs and many are still unemployed. American families continue to struggle as women, most notably women of color, have been forced out of the workforce. Through the American Jobs Plan, the Biden Administration is working to provide the critical infrastructure needed to support our Nation’s caregivers so they can earn a living and care for their loved ones.

Secretary Raimondo was among one of the first speakers at the summit and addressed the importance of our Nation’s caregivers to our economic recovery and investing in a strong care infrastructure.

“The pandemic has shown us the importance of care work. Care is infrastructure,” said Secretary Raimondo. “We must create the infrastructure and provide the resources to take care of our caregivers.”

Secretary Raimondo also stressed that the care economy is core to American competitiveness and that it is not only a business issue, but an “everybody issue.” She shared that this issue is near and dear to her heart and that she is thankful she has had support for the past 15 years in raising her children and having a care team today that allows her 90-year old mother to age with dignity.

"There are millions of women, mostly women of color, unbelievably hardworking, working full time in poverty, taking care of our loved ones,” she said. “That's WRONG. It's time to build the infrastructure required so people aren't living in poverty.”

During the summit, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stressed, “Investing in the care economy is a necessity and it’s a matter of justice.”

Later in the day, Vice President Kamala Harris joined the summit and outlined the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan and how it will include the care economy.

“We are expanding the definition of infrastructure, it’s not only about roads and bridges and water and broadband; it’s about care,” said Vice President Harris. “The American Jobs Plan invests $400 billion into our country’s infrastructure, our human infrastructure.”

The American Jobs Plan proposes substantial investments in the infrastructure of our care economy and creating new and better jobs for caregiving workers. Vice President Harris announced that in the coming weeks, the Administration will build on the American Jobs Plan with the American Family Plan.

“We want to create an economy where care is readily available for those who need it,” she said. “We want to ensure caregivers are treated with respect. In supporting this economy, we will create the kind of change that lasts for generations. For caregivers, that means better wages, more protections, and more security. For families that means more accessibility and more affordability.”

The Care Can’t Wait Summit was hosted by Ai-jen Poo, director of Caring Across Generations, a national group advocating for the care of older adults, individuals with disabilities, families and caregivers.