Building the “Care Economy” : President Biden signs and executive order to expand child care access

In an effort to show his administration’s continued dedication to building what they call, “the care economy,” President Biden signed an executive order today that included 50 directives to increase access to child care and improve the work life of caregivers. The administration has proposed legislation to enshrine these initiatives, but a Republican House makes this highly unlikely. The executive orders, according to Susan Rice, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, show that Biden isn’t waiting on Congress to act.

Included in the directives are Increasing Compensation and Improving Job Quality for Family Caregivers, Early Educators, and Long-Term Care Workers.  According to, The order seeks to improve the child care provided to the offspring of federal workers, including military families. It plans to lower costs for families that are part of the Child Care & Development Block Grant program. Military veterans would get better home-based care. And the Department of Health and Human Services would raise pay and benefits for teachers and staff in the Head Start program.

Reuters reports that “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 Care Economy

This executive order builds on the Biden administration’s focus on what they call “the care economy.” According to AP News, Biden’s 10-year budget largely revolves around the idea of taxing the wealthy to help fund programs for the middle class, older adults and families. It would raise $4.7 trillion from higher taxes, with an additional $800 billion in savings from changes to programs.

They argue that focusing on taking care of our children, elderly, and their caretakers is not only the right thing to do, but also economically sound. In fact, a White House economic report finds that money for child care would help economic growth. In this State of the Union address, President Biden says, “Let’s also make sure working parents can afford to raise a family with sick days, paid family and medical leave, and affordable child care that will enable millions more people to go to work,” Biden said. “And by the way, when we do all of these things, we increase productivity. We increase economic growth.”


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