| 29 November 2023, Wednesday |

Biden, facing roadblocks in Congress, to issue executive order on childcare, eldercare

The announcement of more than 50 executive actions by U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday will be made in response to congressional opposition to his initiatives, which include extending care for children, the elderly, and those with disabilities.

Biden will keep pushing lawmakers to approve $750 billion in spending for those sectors over 10 years, as specified in his 2024 budget, according to Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice.

But in the meantime, he is directing federal agencies to adopt measures that do not involve new spending to increase Americans’ access to high-quality childcare and long-term care.

“The president’s not going to wait to take action to address our nation’s care crisis,” Rice told reporters. Biden’s order will have more than 50 executive actions, she said.

The White House is betting child- and elder-care programs, which are very popular with the public, can boost Biden’s approval ratings as he nears an announcement of his candidacy for the 2024 presidential race.

Biden is directing nearly every federal agency to identify grant programs that can pay for childcare and long-term care benefits for workers on federal projects, and consider requiring companies applying for federal job-creation funds to expand access to care for their workers.

The Commerce Department pioneered this approach last month when it required companies seeking major funding under its $52 billion U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and research program to show how they will help workers access affordable childcare.

Other measures would improve access to home-based care for veterans, boost pay for early childhood educators, improve the quality of jobs caring for the elderly and those with disabilities and promote the right of care workers to unionize.

Heather Boushey of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) said childcare and eldercare shortages and soaring costs limited the ability of many women to work, dampening economic growth.

She noted a recent Boston Consulting Group forecast that U.S. economic output could drop by $290 billion a year beginning in 2030 if critical care shortages and affordability were not addressed.

Senior administration officials declined to estimate the dollar value of Biden’s actions and said the administration wants to implement the changes quickly.

  • Reuters