HONOLULU, October 28, 2021 — Hawaiʻi Children’s Action Network Speaks!, which advocates for all children in Hawaiʻi to have the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive, released the following statement attributable to HCAN Speaks! Executive Director Deborah Zysman:
President Biden’s new framework for the Build Back Better package, released today, contains transformative achievements for Hawaiʻi’s children and families. But we’re deeply disappointed that paid leave was cut from the plan and will keep fighting for its inclusion.
Under the plan, child care would finally become affordable for working families, and free pre-K would finally be available to all 3- and 4-year-olds. High-quality early learning is critical for young children’s development, and affordable child care is critical to our economic recovery and vitality. We’ve been fighting for these priorities for years, and we can’t overemphasize how life-changing this will be for Hawaiʻi families.
Giving families up to $300 per month, per child, through the Child Tax Credit has already proven invaluable this year. Hawaiʻi families are overwhelmingly using this cash to make ends meet by paying for food, school supplies, and other basic needs. We’re thrilled that the Build Back Better framework continues this child benefit for another year and makes it permanently available to all families, regardless of income.
However, we are outraged that paid family and medical leave was cut from the Build Back Better framework. Under this disappointing development, the US would remain one of only six countries without any national paid leave program. Parents and caregivers would continue having to choose between putting food on the table or taking care of a new baby, sick child, or other loved one.
We will not give up on our fight to ensure that paid leave is included in Build Back Better. Until the final package is passed, and the ink dries on the legislation, we remain committed to pursuing this critical support for working families.
We thank Senator Brian Schatz, Senator Mazie Hirono, and Representative Kai Kahele for their steadfast support of Build Back Better. We hope Representative Ed Case will listen to his constituents calling for his support of these crucial provisions. And we urge our entire Congressional delegation to continue pushing for the paid leave that our families need and deserve.
Contact: Ryan Catalani
(808) 531-5502 ext. 104
About Hawaiʻi Children’s Action Network Speaks!: HCAN Speaks! is a nonpartisan 501(c)4 nonprofit building a movement to ensure all keiki are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. For more information, visit https://speaks.hawaii-can.org.