U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh promoted the benefits of a federal coronavirus relief package for working families Thursday, July 8 during the first official visit by a Biden cabinet member to Riverside County.
A former Boston mayor, Walsh and Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside, hosted a roundtable discussion on child care at the Riverside Community College District main office in downtown Riverside.
Later, the secretary was scheduled to tour a Riverside carpentry skills training center and March Veterans Village, a supporting housing community for veterans in need near March Air Reserve Base. He was scheduled to visit Orange County on Friday to talk about the White House’s investments in infrastructure and the workforce.
Walsh’s visit promoted the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in March without a single Republican vote. The president and other Democrats have been hitting the road nationwide to tout their agenda and accomplishments as they fight to pass an infrastructure bill and keep control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
The bill’s provisions include an expansion of the child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under age 6 and $3,000 for 6- to 17-year-olds. Starting July 15, families will get direct payments of $300 per month for children under 6 and $250 per month for children 6 through 17.
According to Takano, close to 192,000 children in his district — Riverside, Perris, Moreno Valley and Jurupa Valley — will benefit from the tax credit and the bill will lift 15,600 children in his district out of poverty.
But even families who can afford unsubsidized child care are struggling to find it and that, not unemployment benefits, is keeping people out of the workforce, the congressman said.
“While the child tax credit is going to be … a huge help to these families as they climb out of this pandemic, we still have a need to build a care economy,” Takano said after the roundtable. “Whether it’s child care or elder care, we need to make a decision … to support valuing the work that these care workers do.”