Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the floor regarding President Biden’s American Families Plan that combines infrastructure that matches a 21st Century economy, and human infrastructure that allows our workers and families to succeed in it. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks which can also be viewed here:
This morning, President Biden unveiled landmark legislation designed to give American families a better chance to succeed in the 21st Century economy: combining investments in education, child care and workforce training.
The American Families Plan, as it’s called, makes exactly the types of investments our country should have been making for a very long time.
In many of these areas, the United States has lagged well behind other developed countries. Governments throughout Europe dedicate a significantly higher portion of their GDP to workforce retraining and offering more flexible family leave policies.
Some say that these kinds of policies are not infrastructure—but they very much are.
Child care is a necessity in the 21st Century; and a lack of access to child care can be a throttle on future economic growth because it affects millions of American families. As technology and automation replace jobs in certain sectors of the economy, workforce training is a must. Giving our children a head start earlier in life with pre-K education has benefits that span a child’s entire life, and so will affect our country positively for decades to come: economically, socially, and, in renewing the American spirit, which is so important to our future.
The kinds of policies that deal with human infrastructure are just as important as roads and bridges, which of course are no doubt important in their own right. This is not an either/or situation: human infrastructure or brick-and-mortar infrastructure. We must say yes to both. We don’t want to choose one versus the other. That’s like choosing between children, both of which we love.
In the modern world, we need both: infrastructure that matches a 21st Century economy, and human infrastructure that allows our workers and families to succeed in it. So I applaud President Biden for putting this plan together—it’s just the right approach.
And I would add one final comment here. All of our Republican colleagues, every single one, regrettably, chose to oppose the American Rescue Plan—despite the fact that a majority of Republican voters approved of the legislation.
There seems to be a huge dichotomy between Republicans in Washington and Republicans in the rest of the country who approve of many of the policies in President Biden’s plans. Republicans in the rest of the country approved of the checks and investing in vaccines and they approve of investing in infrastructure. I suspect many of these policies in the American Families Plan will get high marks as well. Child care is popular, early pre-k is popular, early school training is popular, free community college is popular, the list goes on.
Will our Republican colleagues start to listen to their constituents as well as the rest of the country? Or are they still the party of Donald Trump – a party that opposes the other side at all costs? That's no good for America, that's no good for bipartisanship, and it's not even good for the Republican party's future.