Why Senator Klobuchar is selling a “Marshall Plan for Moms”

America’s mothers are fighting. Around a million mothers left the workforce during the pandemic, with black mothers, Hispanic mothers, and single mothers being the hardest hit.

It did so after women hit a major milestone in early 2020 and occupied 50.03% of jobs in America. But the pandemic has changed that. According to the National Women’s Law Center, since February 2020, more than 2.3 million women have left the workforce, reducing their participation to levels not seen since 1988. In December, women had a net loss in the job market, while American men had a net gain in jobs that month.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the labor force participation rate of mothers with young children in Minnesota fell 11.1 percentage points from September to November 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

Members of Congress addressed some of the struggles women and mothers faced during the pandemic with the American Rescue Plan Act, passed in March. This relief package gave over $ 40 billion to childcare workers across the country, including $ 550 million to Minnesota. However, some childcare workers and advocates have feared that a one-time, flat-rate payment might not be enough to sustain an industry that has been underfunded and underfunded for so long.

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It was for this reason that a group of Democratic senators, including Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, presented the Marshall Plan for Mothers, citing the massive US spending on rebuilding Western Europe after World War II. Legislation calls for a similar level of spending to support mothers in the American workforce following initial funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

A call for better paid vacation arrangements

The resolution states that “the United States needs a Marshall Plan for Mothers to Resuscitate and Restore Mothers in the Workforce,” and it was presented to the Senate in March 2021. The accompanying resolution in the House of Representatives was introduced by Rep. Grace Meng, D-New York.

This resolution, which has 11 co-sponsors in the Senate and 36 in the House of Representatives, has no legal force; However, it could pave the way for stronger legislation if backed by the House and Senate committees where it is now under review.

The Marshall Plan for Mothers provides a paid vacation plan that would create a path to permanent paid vacation solutions that could include a federal government-mandated vacation allowance for people suffering from health or family crises, like many during COVID-19 -Pandemic did. The resolution also calls for funding to stabilize the childcare industry, which would build on the relief of the American Rescue Plan Act as a more permanent support network for childcare providers. It would also expand an unemployment insurance program to include those suffering from long-term unemployment.

Access to mental health care for mothers was also included in the resolution, as well as an “improved child tax credit and an earned income tax credit to reduce child poverty”.

The language of the resolution also states that US employers and policymakers must “prioritize mothers in tackling the economic cliff” and make their policy proposals permanent “so that mothers are protected from future economic disasters”.


In January, 50 prominent women signed a letter in the New York Times, led by Girls Who Code founder and CEO Reshma Saujani, calling on the Biden administration to set up a task force to implement the Marshall Plan for Mothers should. Other well-known signatories are the actresses Eva Longoria and Charlize Theron, the comedian Amy Schumer and the CEO and co-founder of Ellevest Sally Krawcheck.

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50 men followed in February. They signed a letter in the Washington Post calling on Congress to support the Marshall Plan for Mothers. The group includes basketball player Stephen Curry, former NFL star Victor Cruz and New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang. Many of the men who signed the letter are fathers and are pushing for direct payments for mothers, paid parental leave, equal pay and affordable childcare.

“If more than 30 years of progress for women in the workforce can be erased in 9 months, the underlying system is broken,” read the letter, which is displayed as a full-page ad. “It’s time to create a new structure that works for women who respect and value their work. Men play a role. “

“Childcare shouldn’t be a luxury”

To promote the resolution, Klobuchar performed Tuesday at the New Horizon Academy in Edina to meet with the New Horizon leadership and mothers.

“People in this country struggle with childcare, so many of them at home, especially mothers, have their toddlers on their knees and their laptops on their desks teaching their young children how to use the mute button on Zoom calls . Said Klobuchar. “And her whole life has changed. And that’s why I heard these stories at home. “

According to Klobuchar, the Marshall Plan for Mothers is part of an effort to provide longer-term funding to childcare providers and parents after the initial inflow of funds.

“We thought this pandemic was the end of our business,” said Chad Dunkley, CEO of the New Horizon Academy. “In March of last year, the New Horizon Academy was caring for more than 10,000 Minnesota children per day to just over 2,000 in just a few weeks. At the same time, Governor Walz asked the providers to please stay open. “

Two mothers at the conference also shared their experiences in the final year of the pandemic, citing childcare as an essential part of their ability to survive and care for their children.

“I returned to work from maternity leave in April last year during a period of great stress in our hospital system,” said Ellen LaFontaine, mother and clinical social worker at M Health Fairview. “Our infection and death rates rose locally, and my clinics received reports of supply shortages on a daily basis.”

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LaFontaine stated that she owed her success in her medical career to childcare she was able to find during the pandemic.

“Child tax credits passed under the American Rescue Plan Act provide a metaphorical life jacket in a sea of ​​emotional and financial uncertainty,” said LaFontaine. “Childcare shouldn’t be a luxury.”

Teress James, kitchen manager at New Horizon and mother of three, said her dream has always been to work in childcare.

“The tax credit that comes as part of this federal package will also help my family in many ways,” said James. “I will be able to pay all of my debts that I owe, and even pay some upfront. I’ll also be able to budget and save better. Hardworking mothers like me deserve the support that helps us continue to contribute to our careers and have stability for our own children. “