[1/7] U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on childcare and eldercare costs during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2023. REUTERS/Nathan Howard
WASHINGTON, April 18 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden, facing congressional resistance to his “care economy” proposals, on Tuesday signed an executive order aimed at advancing free preschool and expanding affordable care for children, older Americans and those with disabilities.
Biden signed the order, which includes over 50 specific actions, in the White House Rose Garden, flanked by family caregivers, people with disabilities, older adults and early childhood and long-term care workers.
The order instructs nearly every federal agency to take actions to increase Americans’ access to high-quality childcare and long-term care, and to better support caregivers and workers, even as Biden continues to push for $750 billion in funding for those areas over 10 years included in his 2024 budget proposal to Congress.
“The executive order doesn’t require any new spending. It’s about making sure that taxpayers get the best value for the investments they’ve already made,” Biden said.
“The actions we’re taking today are about dignity, security and peace of mind for working families and caregivers all across the country and they’re good for the economy as well,” said Biden, who shared his own struggles with caregiving as a single father after the death of his first wife.
The White House is betting child- and elder-care programs, which are very popular with the public despite opposition by Republican lawmakers and some Democrats, can boost Biden’s approval ratings as he nears an announcement of his candidacy for the 2024 presidential race.
Ai-jen Poo, president of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Jenn Stowe, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliances, called the order “a major step toward modernizing” the U.S. care system.
“As the care workforce crisis intensifies across the country and families continue to struggle to afford care, this set of executive actions marks the all-in commitment we need to make sure care jobs are good jobs and that Americans can access care for generations to come,” they said in a joint statement.
The executive order was also welcomed by AARP, a major lobbying group for older Americans, and the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor organization.