WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday held a virtual roundtable with women in Congress and advocates to discuss the disproportionate economic impact of the pandemic on women.
Democrats say President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, is the best way to help the 3 million women who have left the workforce amid the pandemic.
“This is a national emergency,” Harris said. “The longer we wait to act, the harder it will be to bring these millions of women back into the workforce.”
Sen Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., said dwindling tourism in her state has especially affected women of color.
“These are women who really most often are putting food on the table, they’re taking care of their children, they’re worried about the education,” Cortez Masto said. “The plan will get more money into their hands to keep them afloat.”
The package includes billions for child care and school resources and specifies aid for women who own small businesses.
But Republicans, who think the plan is too bloated, argue a lot of untargeted spending will backfire.
“This thing is wrongheaded on so many fronts,” Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., said. “They’re allowing every single restaurant in this country up to $10 million if you can qualify for that, which is the big restaurants. So very quickly you’re going to blow past $25 billion. I mean, we saw this happen with the (Paycheck Protection Program) initially.”
Despite Republican pushback, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says the bills should pass by next month.