Women’s March on Build Back Better Framework: A Good Start That Falls Short on Many Promises to Women

Statement from Women’s March Executive Director Rachel O’Leary Carmona on the Build Back Better framework released today: 

“For four years under President Trump, women in all fifty states took to the streets to demand better. And last November, women took to the polls to vote for better—not just a better president, but a better country for us to live in, work in, and raise our families in. 

“The full Build Back Better agenda, which President Biden campaigned and was elected on, would have helped usher that better country in. But the framework agreed upon today by Democrats in Congress is not that. It leaves out prescription drug reforms, which women need as much as anyone to afford healthcare in a country where pharma profits take everything they can from family pockets. It leaves out a path to citizenship for DREAMers, who—like all immigrants—are key to this country’s economy. And, critically, it leaves out paid family and medical leave. 

“Even before the pandemic, it was unthinkable that the United States was the only country in the world without paid family and medical leave. But during a pandemic that has decimated working Americans, especially women, omitting paid family leave from the Build Back Better framework is unconscionable. There is overwhelming support across party lines to give new mothers paid time off after childbirth, to give parents paid time off to care for a loved one, to give anyone paid time off to heal from an illness or accident. Democrats in Washington, including the President, who ran on his power to strike deals on both sides of the aisle, should have been able to find the support for this, too. 

“Of course, there is much to appreciate in the Build Back Better framework released today. There are transformative investments in families, including universal preschool, an expansion of the Child Tax Credit, and new access to high-quality home care for seniors and people living with disabilities. There are initiatives that will make a real dent in combating climate change, in bringing down the costs of healthcare premiums, in cutting taxes for the middle class. 

But the recovery women were promised—not just from the pandemic, but from four years of President Trump and lifetimes of our policy needs being viewed as frivolous instead of fundamental—is not in this bill. And if women and caregivers aren’t able to recover, then this country won’t be able to, either. We cannot Build Back Better if we don’t treat women better. It’s that simple.

“We look forward to the passage of the Build Back Better legislative package. But as we continue fighting for women, we will continue demanding that women and caregivers are given the support they need—the support Democrats promised.”