Download MomsRising’s Mandate for America (PDF)
The challenges facing women, and especially mothers and women of color, are more serious right now than they’ve been in years. The data is in and the pandemic is having an outsized impact on women and moms, with women of color experiencing compounded harms due to structural racism. The pandemic has turned the cracks in our systems into catastrophes, exposing just how much families, communities, and our economy depend on the work of women even though that work has long been, and continues to be, vastly undervalued.
With moms and our nation facing unprecedented challenges, we need immediate solutions. The status quo is not sustainable. Moms are trying to keep the jobs that our families and economy depend on and also care for our kids whose child care programs have shuttered and whose schools are operating only virtually. We’re trying to care for our parents, some of whom are terrified to leave their homes. And moms across our nation are trying to make ends meet on budgets that are stretched beyond the breaking point while being disproportionately pushed out of the labor force.
At the same time, women are the majority of workers risking their lives to provide health care, child care, and other essential services while simultaneously being overrepresented in many of the occupations feeling the brunt of COVID-related job losses. Black women, Indigenous women, women of color and immigrants are disproportionately in essential work positions and also vastly overrepresented in fatalities from COVID-19. The pandemic is doing outsized harm to communities of color.
Further, for the first time since 1964—the advent of modern U.S. employment statistics for women—this economic downturn, which began in February 2020, has seen women lose jobs at a higher rate than men, with compounded harms to women of color. For instance, the September 2020 jobs numbers found that 865,000 women were pushed out of the labor force. Compare that to about 216,000 men. Of the 865,000 women who left the workforce in September, 58,000 were Black women and 324,000 were Latinas. LGBTQ+ workers are also experiencing disproportionately high unemployment rates. One study found that 1 in 3 moms may be forced to scale back or leave the jobs their families — and our economy — depend on. Studies show the long-term effects of women being pushed out of the workforce for prolonged periods of time are sobering: We see lifetime wage loss. This is all the more reason that Dr. C. Nicole Mason, CEO of the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, coined the term “she-cession” to describe the COVID economy.
As we rebuild our economy, our policy priorities must reflect the diversity of our nation and the contributions of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, immigrant, and LGBTQ+ communities experiencing the most harm. It is very clear that our economy and country cannot fully recover unless we recognize the contributions and also address needs of women, families and communities of color, especially mothers. We have a tremendous opportunity to put in place policies that not only help our families, communities, and economy recover from this vicious pandemic now, but will also set us up for success in the long-term and protect us from the next pandemic or economic crisis. We can, and we must, build a care infrastructure and a caring economy so families, businesses, and our economy can thrive.
This is why we urge the primary focus in the first 100 days of the new Congress and the Biden Administration to be passing a COVID-relief package, followed quickly by several priority policies that need immediate attention and are detailed in the attached letter.
Caregiving is a key driver of our economy; and yet caregivers are too often left out of solutions. This has got to change. The pandemic has laid bare cracks in our public policies – cracks that will impede recovery and cause real harm to workers, families, businesses, our economy and our country for a generation if they aren’t addressed. We are struggling through the greatest health and economic challenge the country has faced in a century, while also facing an ongoing crisis due to structural racism that must be addressed. There is no time to waste. The moms of America expect our elected leaders to take immediate action to pass the next COVID-19 relief package immediately; and also to take speedy action on the priorities in the document attached to this letter. We appreciate your consideration!
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director & Co-Founder
Donna Norton, Executive Vice President & Chief Advancement & Strategy Officer
Elyssa Schmier, National Director on Budget & Taxes
Felicia Burnett, National Director, Healthcare
Beatriz Beckford, National Director, Youth & Education Justice
Ruth Martin, Senior Vice President & Chief Workplace Justice Officer
Nina Perez, National Director, Early Learning
Tina Sherman, Campaign Director, Breastfeeding & Paid Leave
Xochitl Oseguara, Vice President, MamásConPoder
Gloria Pan, Vice President Member Engagement, Campaign Innovations & Gun Control
MomsRising Mandate for America
2021 brings new opportunities and formidable challenges. Every elected leader, including President-Elect Biden, needs to know exactly what issues moms across America prioritize, especially during the first 100 days of the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress in 2021; so we can address the unprecedented challenges we face including advancing racial justice, gender justice, and economic justice and building a nation where everyone can thrive. That’s why we at MomsRising created, with our over a million members, the following urgent policy priorities for leaders taking the helm of our nation next year.
Table of Contents
We have 10 key priorities:
- COVID-19 Relief Priorities
- Health Care Priorities
- Economy, Safety Net, Tax, & Budget Policies Priorities
- Criminal Justice Reform, Community Safety & Youth Justice Priorities
- Workplace Justice Priorities
- Childcare Priorities
- Maternal & Reproductive Health Priorities
- Immigration Priorities
- Gun Safety Priorities
- Voting Rights & Democracy Protection Priorities
1. COVID-19 Relief Priorities
The moms of America urge leaders to immediately pass a comprehensive, robust COVID-relief package that centers the growing racial disparity in COVID-19 morbidity throughout each issue area and lifts families and our economy. Shocking data show Black, Latinx, and Native American people are dying at rates markedly higher than white Americans. Our elected leaders must develop and implement health equity interventions across all components of coronavirus response legislation, collect national health outcomes data by race, and ensure that all new policies urgently address these racial and ethnic disparities.
COVID-19 relief must be enacted immediately and include the following:
- Congress must include robust paid leave in any COVID-related package. Access to paid leave in the pandemic has been linked to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 by as much as 15,000 new cases per day where people are able to use the leave. Paid leave during the pandemic has prevented countless evictions, hospitalizations, hungry children, and sleepless nights. The last Congress left town without expanding and extending emergency paid leave, putting 31 million parents at risk for losing access to paid childcare leave at the same time the virus is surging and many schools are operating virtually. This new Congress must fix that mistake and act quickly to renew and expand emergency paid leave by passing President Biden’s plan. President Biden’s paid leave plan that will provide 14 weeks of paid sick and family and medical leave to help parents with additional caregiving responsibilities when a child or loved one’s school or care center is closed; for people who have or are caring for people with COVID-19 symptoms, or who are quarantining due to exposure; and for people needing to take time to get the vaccine. The plan also provides paid leave to federal workers and will reimburse employers with less than 500 employees for the cost of this leave and more. This plan will also extend the emergency paid leave benefits until the end of September 2021. While we need a permanent paid leave policy in this county, the Biden emergency paid leave plan is a huge step in the right direction and meets our immediate needs to paid leave right now. A priority should be made over time to pass permanent paid family and medical leave and earned paid sick days. The pandemic makes it painfully clear that we need comprehensive and permanent paid family and medical leave. The pandemic will end, but we know the need for paid family and medical leave and earned sick time will not. Access to these essential earned benefits increase workforce attachment and increase family’s economic security;
- Extend and strengthen the unemployment insurance program, including reauthorizing the $600/week boost established under Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), extend PUA and PEUC, and expand both of these programs by adding more weeks of benefits for workers experiencing long-term unemployment. In addition, the federal government needs to make investments and changes to our existing UI system to modernize it and make sure it is well-funded to support struggling workers in the future.
- While the $10 billion in CCDBG was a critical downpayment, after months on insufficient aid, it’s critical to prioritize a minimum of $40 billion dedicated to a childcare stabilization fund to stabilize the childcare industry, support and ensure programs don’t close their doors permanently and can reopen, safely meeting all new regulations, and ensure parents, particularly moms, aren’t pushed out of the workforce because of childcare breakdowns. Congress has also provided $1 billion in COVID-19 relief to Head Start. Following the CARES Act inclusion of $750 million for Head Start, a $1.7 billion need remained. Accounting for the most recent $250 million that was included in the December relief package, $1.45 billion in stark, one-time funding is still needed to support our families.
- Support reopening schools and campuses safely by providing robust funding to support educators, support staff, students, and families during this pandemic. This includes major investments in our education systems to stabilize education funding, at least $12 billion to equip students with hot spots and devices to help narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap, and direct funding for personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Ensure struggling families can access nutritious food during this economic crisis by boosting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) maximum and minimum benefits, rescinding all SNAP rule changes that would time limit, terminate, or weaken benefits and increase funds for school meals and other nutrition programs that are in unprecedented demand;
- Laying the groundwork for vital tax improvements with a temporary expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in COVID legislation and then making this tax credit fully available to the 27 million children who are currently denied some or all of the tax credits that higher income people receive and creating a young child bonus for families with children under the age of 6.
- Improve the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to reach more low-income families and stop taxing low-wage workers who are not raising children into poverty. The first step should be to take immediate action to boost the credit and extend the age range to help low-wage workers who are already struggling in the COVID economy. Then, permanent improvements should be made so more working families can benefit from this important working family tax credit. In addition, expanding the EITC to low-wage workers without children in the home, many of whom are still supporting and providing support to children, is important since this is the largest group of adults who are taxed into, or deeper into, poverty every year.
- Repeal the appalling $135 billion Millionaires Tax Giveaway that was included in the CARES Act;
- Provide additional direct payments to families, including immigrant families;
- Support robust funding for state, local, territorial and tribal governments;
- Address the urgent health and housing needs of low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness by extending, strengthening, and enforcing the federal eviction moratorium, providing robust funding of at least $30 billion for emergency rental assistance and utility assistance and at least $28 billion for long-term housing vouchers for households with the greatest needs. These critical resources are vital to keep people experiencing homelessness safe and stably housed.
- Support a scaled-up distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, with the federal government taking on a key leadership role and achieving a goal of 1 million doses a day in the first 100 days. Distribution to as many people as possible, as quickly and as safely possible, is critical but as critical is that the mechanisms for distribution ensure equity and address those at greatest risk first. There have to be real mechanisms to assure that people of color and people with economic barriers to care don’t get left behind, especially given they are infected and dying at higher rates. Trust needs to be garnered for those who are wary of the vaccine through culturally competent tactics to get as many people on board as possible. As the vaccine rollout continues, and hopefully accelerates under new leadership, we will also need to scale up manufacturing of more doses by encouraging no exclusive patents so that more than one company can manufacture without running into patent rights issues. To further ensure a smoother rollout, more aid to state, local, tribal, and territory governments to meet vaccination distribution needs and manage the escalating crisis must be included in any COVID-19 legislation, as well as utilize any available federal resources or personnel to aid in vaccination efforts.
- Prevent people from losing their employer-sponsored health insurance; create a special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act; provide additional funding for states’ Medicaid programs and home- and community-based services; mandate reports to Congress on the race, ethnicity, and disability status of COVID-19 test recipients, hospitalizations and mortality; prohibit price gouging on consumer goods and services needed for medical treatment; provide essential funding for mental health supports; give aid to Native American communities; and provide additional funding for other urgent health issues like testing, tracing, and treatment;
- Provide no-cost testing and treatment for all, including immigrant communities, and ensures that testing and treatment for COVID-19 is covered under emergency Medicaid;
- 90-day refills of prescriptions and medical supplies for people with Medicaid, CHIP, and private insurance;
- Enhance worker safety by immediately updating OSHA guidance on how to best protect workers from contracting COVID in the workplace, issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to protect all workers from exposure as quickly as possible, and rigorously investigate all claims of unsafe workplaces, using all remedial tools available when violations are found;
- Protect and extend relief to all families and essential workers, including green card holders, DACA recipients, Temporary Protected Status-holders, and the 11 million people in undocumented communities;
- Provide $75 million for rapid response grants through Title II of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. These funds will help support a variety of services, including testing of young people and staff in facilities and continued access to education and community support for youth returning home, at this time when positive tests in secure settings continue to rise to an alarming degree;
- Include measures to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated to minimize the spread and impact of COVID-19 by directing the federal Bureau of Prisons and states to release individuals in jails, prisons, and detention centers who do not pose a public safety risk, such as families held by ICE, pregnant women, elderly people, those housed in pre-trial detention, those held on technical parole or probation violations, and those who are nearing their release date. Provide guidance to states on releasing people from prisons, jails, and detention centers. In addition, include policies that guarantee safe conditions and ensure that transparent plans are in place to address the COVID-19 crisis for incarcerated individuals; and
- Redirect criminal justice and police force funding that is not specifically for COVID-19 health and safety precautions or supporting decarceration to other programs.
“I’ve been out of work since March 13th. The first month was terrible– I went a month without any income, then finally I got accepted for SNAP and that helped with food. Finally, unemployment kicked in and I was able to pay my rent and bills. Without unemployment I’ll be homeless, unable to pay my bills.My industry is still out of work and it’s not looking like we will be going back any time soon. I need this unemployment to keep going. I’m depending on it since it’s all we have.” -Megan, Lexington, KY
“We have two group family daycares. With the current situation, we really don’t know how we’re gonna make it!! Parents are keeping kids at home. No one knows how long it’s gonna be like that. We don’t know how we can pay three rents: 1 rent for each daycare, 1 rent for an apartment, where we live. We also worry about our caregivers: they simply will not have money to buy food. I would love to help them somehow. But we can not make ends meet! We need some help!”-Tetiana, New York
2. Health Care Priorities
The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Health Care Platform outlined below:
BELIEVE health care is a right – not a privilege and should be accessible to everyone in our country regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, or socioeconomic status.
ENSURE that every woman, child, and family has access to quality, affordable health care coverage.
SUPPORT policies that will further the goal of reaching universal, quality health care coverage for every family by:
- Withdrawing immediately from the Trump Administration-supported lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act and restore portions of the ACA which were undermined or weakened by the previous administration.
- Ensuring a strong Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which provide health care coverage for more than half of our nation’s children and are essential to our nation’s health and well-being, including permanently authorizing CHIP through the CHIP CARING for Kids Act.
- Opposing proposals that arbitrarily cut Medicaid or CHIP, make structural changes to the programs which would create barriers to access, and shift a fiscal burden to the states.
- Protecting the improvements and gains in coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which has brought the percentage of uninsured people in the United States to a record low, eliminated harmful practices by insurance companies like annual or lifetime caps on coverage and discrimination based on preexisting conditions, and required the 10 essential health benefits to be covered in insurance plans – including maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health care. Oppose all efforts to invalidate, repeal, or replace the ACA with a less robust plan that would result in a larger number of uninsured people in the United States.
- Ensuring that every woman and family has access to quality, affordable health care coverage regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration or socioeconomic status through publicly funded health care coverage.
- Reining in health care costs for the economic security of our families, our communities, and our nation by making access to care and medicines affordable and putting the public good ahead of corporate profit.
- Passing H.R. 3 – The Lower Drug Costs Now Act – to rein in the skyrocketing prices of prescription medicines and ensure that everyone has access to the medicine they need to treat illness and improve their health.
- Supporting home and community-based systems by:
- Adding $450 billion of new funding to Medicaid’s Home and Community-based Services (HCBS) as a downpayment towards building a durable and universal home and community-based services. Additional funding can aid in clearing the Medicaid wait lists for home care, assist people in moving from congregant settings back into their homes and communities, among others;
- Conditioning the federal Medicaid funding to states to the creation of strong infrastructure to enhance access to home care services and care for aging adults and people with disabilities and raising job quality (wages, benefits, access to training and career pathways) for home care workers, including providing them better opportunities to join together in a union or worker organization;
- Requiring states to develop a transparent process for workers, their union or worker organization representatives, consumers, and employers to have a voice and input on pay rates under Medicaid and standard setting more broadly;
- Creating a home care worker pipeline through legalization of qualified undocumented home care workers to help address the care gap and create a robust care worker pipeline.
- Restore the Affordable Care Act’s non-discrimination 1557 regulations to prevent discrimination by providers who may have religious or personal objections to treating patients seeking abortion care or who are LGBTQ+. Additionally, the new administration should reverse other policies championed by the Trump Administration which expanded religious conscience protections to the detriment of patient care.
“My daughter was born with Schizencephaly, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, she’s legally blind, non-verbal, uses a wheelchair, and has a feeding tube. Her medications, feeding supplies, and medical equipment/ supplies cost thousands every month. Her feeding supplies alone cost almost $2,000, of which private insurance only covers a small portion. If she loses coverage and Medicaid is cut, she will die. There is no way anyone could afford the cost of her medical care, especially a family of five living on one income.” – Stephanie, Ohio
3. Economy, Safety Net, Tax, & Budget Priorities
The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Economy, Safety Net, Tax, and Budget Platform outlined below:
BELIEVE families deserve to have the certainty of protection and support through our social safety net, taxes, and national budget.
ENSURE that our safety nets are strong and well-funded, and our tax and budget policies support families, especially working families and struggling families, as well as a strong economy.
SUPPORT policies that will further the goal of creating a budget and tax system that works for all families by:
- Making investments in the safety net to lift women, families, and the economy by protecting and robustly funding social safety net programs like Medicaid, WIC, SNAP, free and reduced-priced school meals, and childcare assistance that boost low- and moderate-income families; raising revenue by requiring the richest Americans and big corporations to pay their fair share of taxes and create a tax code that is reflective of gender and racial equity; and cutting wasteful spending, including at the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security and in police budgets.
- Protecting vital anti-poverty programs like SNAP and Medicaid, which should be free of barriers to access, including drug-testing and additional work requirements.
- Ensuring the national budget reflects and boosts women, people of color, families, and our economy. More than just protecting vital health care, education, nutrition, childcare, and housing programs, elected officials must also invest more in critical programs to guarantee that struggling families and our economy are supported. Choosing this time to cut programs unnecessarily in the name of controlling spending and deficits will only serve to prolong the pain of this recession and slow-down any economic recovery.
- Advancing tax improvements. This includes laying the groundwork for temporary improvements to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in COVID legislation and then making this tax credit fully available to the 27 million children who are currently denied some or all of the tax credits that higher income people receive and creating a young child bonus for families with children under the age of 6.
- Improving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to reach more low-income families and stop taxing low-wage workers who are not raising children into poverty. The first step should be to take immediate action to boost the credit and extend the age range to help low-wage workers who are already struggling in the COVID economy. Then, permanent improvements should be made so more working families can benefit from this important working family tax credit. In addition, expanding the EITC to low-wage workers without children in the home, many of whom are still supporting and providing support to children, is important since this is the largest group of adults who are taxed into, or deeper into, poverty every year.
- Extend the recently enacted “look back provision” for another year in order to give families the flexibility to use recent earnings to avert a significant drop in their credits. The “look back provision” allows struggling families filing taxes to be able to use either the pre-pandemic (2019) or pandemic year earning to calculate their EITC and CTC and is commonly used when people are hit by natural disasters and will allow families experiencing unexpected and detrimental changes in income to access this vital working family tax credit.
- Ensuring access to healthy food and nutrition for all kids in schools. Ensure that all children are able to access free- and- reduced priced meals in school and childcare settings that are free of barriers and cost, including virtual school settings. Ensure parents and families can make healthy choices by limiting the presence of marketing in schools, child-directed advertising, and more. Promote a healthy school day through robust implementation and protection of achievements including healthy school meals and snacks, and wellness policies.
- Ensure pregnant women, moms, infants, and toddlers get the proper nutrition they need and a healthy start at life by making sure WIC is well-funded and scientifically-based. To guarantee this, lawmakers should enhance access to WIC by loosening burdensome physical presence requirements and making permanent COVID-related flexibilities that allow for phone or video appointments, as well as, strengthen efforts to advance a nationwide solution for WIC online purchasing.
- Ensuring all kids and families have access to safe and accessible drinking water through investments in infrastructure, testing, and remediation efforts.
QUOTE: ‘I am a separated but married mother with two children. I work full time for a good company that provides excellent benefits. But with the rising prices of insurance, food, gas etc I am struggling to support my children. I also attend college full time to get my degree so that I can prayfully receive a promotion and better financially support my family. My oldest son is in the 3rd grade so I do not have to pay for lunch because we qualify for the free lunch program. But my youngest son is still in childcare so that takes a nice chunk out of my check. We rely on SNAP to help with our food costs. – Manetric, Indianapolis, IN
“Being a single parent the EITC and Child Tax Credit has really helped us to make it through the year, as it allows me to buy clothes and healthy food for my child and anything she needs throughout the year and also allows us to see family, which we hadn’t been able to, had we not had the EITC and the Child Tax Credit. It’s been so helpful when I have received a tax refund back on child care. All of it has made a huge difference in our lives and [given us] a much better life. I am really thankful for it.-Jeanette, Altamont, New York
4. Criminal Justice Reform, Community Safety & Youth Justice Priorities
The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Criminal Justice Reform & Youth Justice Platform outlined below:
BELIEVE reforming our criminal justice system is critical to the health of our families and communities.
ENSURE that policies are supportive rather than punitive, just rather than discriminatory, keeping families and our economy as a whole.
SUPPORT policies that support families and communities and dismantle an unjust, punitive, and destructive system by:
- Ending mass incarceration. One million women, mostly mothers, are under criminal justice supervision in the United States and hundreds of thousands of women are currently incarcerated. Two-thirds of the women in federal prisons are serving time for challenges related to nonviolent drug abuse. They need treatment and counseling, not incarceration. Our justice system is failing families, hurting our economy, and in need of some serious reforms. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world, which is nothing to brag about. In fact, we are living at a time when more than 2.7 million children in the United States have an incarcerated parent, and approximately 10 million children have experienced parental incarceration at some point in their lives. Harsh sentencing practices have done more harm than good. Strict penalties designed to combat the distribution of illegal drugs have done little to stem the drug trade; instead, the result has been a massive sweep of people experiencing challenges related to drug addiction into an ever-expanding criminal justice system that directly fractures families and hurts our economy. We urge leaders to release as many people as safely possible from prisons, jails, and detention centers—act on sentencing reform and end mandatory minimums.
- Advocating for police reform. No family should have to suffer from their loved ones being injured or killed by guns, especially at the hands of those charged with protecting them. More than 900 people were killed by police in 2016. Studies show that, even though white Americans outnumber Black Americans fivefold, Black people are three times more likely than white people to be killed when they encounter the police in the United States, and Black teenagers are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than white teenagers. Strategies include:
- A fully resourced and rigorous civil rights and criminal investigation by the DOJ into discriminatory policing, excessive force, and death or injury by police in every state in the country.
- A comprehensive, streamlined, public national-level database of police shootings excessive force and misconduct complaints, traffic and pedestrian stops, and arrests, broken down by race and other demographic data, with key privacy protections, the exclusion of personally identifying factors and information, and deportation immunity for civilians.
- Mandating of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) commissions in every state and interstate coordination between all POSTs.
- An executive order that creates a strong and enforceable prohibition on police brutality and discriminatory policing based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, and housing status.
- Limit federal funding for police departments that demonstrate abuse of power, and move forward massive reinvestment in community-controlled and -based safety practices.
- Support for enactment of the End Racial Profiling Act.
- Streamlined national use of force matrix and mandating that state and local police have clear and streamlined matrices.
- Limits on asset seizure without due process and the transfer of any military equipment to local law enforcement under the 1033 program, guidelines that ensure that the equipment is not used on nonviolent protesters, and an end to the requirement that such military weaponry is used within a year.
- Advancing key elements of the BREATHE Act immediately: A bill that divests our taxpayer dollars from brutal and discriminatory policing and invests in a new vision of public safety:
- Divest federal resources from incarceration and policing;
- Invest in new, non-punitive, non-carceral approaches to community safety that lead states to shrink their criminal-legal systems and center the protection of Black lives—including Black mothers, Black trans people, and Black women;
- Allocate new money to build healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities; and,
- Enhance the self-determination of all Black communities.
- Repealing & Replacing the 1994 Crime Bill. At the time of its passage, numerous leaders in Congress, civil rights experts, community activists, and criminal justice experts understood that the 94 Crime Bill was harmful and deeply flawed. Today, advocates, organizers, and even elected officials who had previously supported the Bill recognize the need to remedy the damage that has been done. The 1994 Crime bill should be repealed and replaced with a bill that:
- Directs resources into communities harmed by mass incarceration
- Revises federal sentencing laws and incentivizes shifts in state and local sentencing laws and budgeting
- Directs resources for education, housing, and employment to people who are formerly incarcerated
- Eliminates federal private prisons and detention centers
- Ends the federal death penalty
- Dismantles the school-to-prison pipeline by directing resources from police in schools to counseling, after-school programming, youth jobs, and meal programs
- Advancing sentencing and bail reform work at the state and municipal levels. Significantly decrease pretrial detention by ending the cash bail system and racially biased risk assessment programs. End the pretrial detention of pregnant women. Reform drug policy using a public health framework and end mandatory minimums.
- Supporting the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act. Improve the treatment of incarcerated women by addressing how inmates interact with their children during incarceration; allowing formerly incarcerated mentors to assist inmates with re-entry; and mandating that inmates have access to a greater range of health care products and in sufficient quantities.
- Ending the school-to-prison pipeline and advancing model school codes. End out-of-school suspensions and promote restorative justice. Integrate social-emotional learning. Adopt discipline policies aimed at dignity in schools with a focus on:
- Understanding and addressing the causes of behavior.
- Resolving conflicts and repairing the harm done.
- Restoring relationships.
- Reintegrating students into the school community.
- Ending the regular presence of law enforcement including armed guards inside schools and increasing the number of counselors inside schools.
- Expanding access to critical support staff and services for students, including nurses, social workers, counselors and school psychologists.
- Implementing and reauthorizing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Recommendations for the reauthorization of the ESSA include:
- Mandatory data collection on school discipline from all schools, Accountability mechanisms for addressing discipline and implementing best practices in the lowest-performing schools.
- Funding for restorative justice practices and school-wide positive behavior supports.
- Parental involvement in developing school discipline codes.
- Requiring states to describe how they will reduce suspensions, expulsions, referrals to law enforcement, and other actions that remove students from instruction.
- Funding competitive grants for school partnerships with community-based organizations.
- Support legislation that ends the criminalization of students in schools and invest federal funds to replace police in schools with school psychologists, social workers, and other staff to help support mental health and provide trauma-informed services. Prohibit the use of federal funds from being used to hire, train, and keep law enforcement and armed guards in schools.
- Pass the Counseling Not Criminalization Act
- Raising the Age. Move policies forward so that juveniles can’t be charged as adults and incarcerated through age 21.
- Fully Implement and Reauthorize the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)
- Fully and robustly implement the reauthorized JJDPA at $176m for Titles 2 & 5, including issuing guidance on the four core protections, technical assistance and support to states and helping non-participating states rejoin the Act.
- Reduce youth incarceration by investing $100m in state and local efforts to close and repurpose youth prisons for non-carceral purposes
5. Workplace Justice Priorities
The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Workplace Justice Platform outlined below:
BELIEVE workplace justice is critical to the health of our families and economy.
ENSURE that all working families have access to policies that help families thrive.
SUPPORT policies that will further the goal of creating workplaces that support workers, their families, and the economy by:
- Advocating for a nationwide, comprehensive, and sustainably funded paid family and medical leave program. We need a national program that covers all working people, for a minimum of twelve weeks of job-protected paid family and medical leave they can use to care for a newly arrived child, or when they or a loved one needs time away from work to deal with a serious medical condition. This proposal must provide a reasonable wage replacement, with higher levels of wage replacement for lower-wage workers, and include a broad definition of the kinds of family relationships permitted for family caregiving. Finally, this system must be sustainably funded without harming other critical programs.
- Protecting pregnant people in the workforce. It’s time to require employers to make the same sorts of reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions that they already make for disabilities, ensuring pregnant women can continue to do their jobs and support their families. These accommodations are simple things like being able to sit down or having a water bottle on shift.
- Supporting breastfeeding mothers. Congress must support public policies to help normalize and minimize the barriers that many breastfeeding mothers face. Policies that ensure all employees have reasonable break time to express milk in a private, non-bathroom location, for at least one year after the child’s birth and make sure public buildings provide lactation rooms that are hygienic are necessary.
- Advancing earned paid sick days. Allow workers to earn paid sick days each year to be used to recover from their own illnesses, access preventive care, provide care to a sick family member, or attend school meetings related to a child’s health condition or disability.
- Supporting efforts to ensure working people won’t be penalized by scheduling abuses. Congress should curb abusive scheduling practices and give working people the right to request schedule predictability and flexibility.
- Expanding the unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. The FMLA was an important start, but the law has significant gaps and needs updating to increase working people’s ability to use coverage.
- Modernizing paid leave for the military. Issue directives to the Department of Defense (DOD) and urge Congress to modernize paid leave for the military by equalizing the duration of leave and making it mandatory for mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents and work with Congress to expand paid leave for DOD personnel to include family caregiving as well.
- Protecting against retaliation for discussing salaries with colleagues. To increase pay transparency, allow workers to discuss salaries and wages with each other.
- Promoting bans on salary history requirements. Work to ensure that employers are barred from requiring job candidates to disclose previous salary histories, which contributes to the wage gap over time.
- Raising the federal minimum wage and including tipped workers. Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour or higher for all minimum wage workers, including tipped workers and workers with disabilities, and index the minimum wage to match the growth in the national median wage.
- Auditing salary reviews for gender bias. The administration and Congress should conduct their own agency reviews and audits of salaries to ensure that gender bias is being rooted out and eliminated and continue to highlight, as models, private companies that are doing the same.
- Raising the overtime threshold. Raising the overtime threshold so more people receive overtime pay for working extra hours, in addition to benefiting families, is likely to strengthen the economy overall. A higher overtime threshold could lead employers to hire more employees or increase the hours of part-time workers. To the extent that more workers receive overtime pay, these increased earnings could lead to increased consumer spending and stronger economic growth.
- Expanding the Fair Labor Standards Act to cover all workers, including domestic workers and farm workers at the federal level.
- Strengthening the care workforce: Transformation of care jobs into good jobs is an essential part of a durable and equitable care infrastructure. Care workers across the care economy must be compensated with family-sustaining wages and benefits, access to training, certification, and career pathways, and a choice to join a union or other worker organizations. For undocumented care workers, legal status by a way of path to citizenship is also key to making their jobs into good jobs. Structural inequities of racism and sexism in our economy and our society have relegated far too many care workers, the vast majority of whom are women and disproportionately women of color and immigrants to be undervalued and underpaid. By finally prioritizing the investment in this overlooked workforce, the Administration and Congress can create millions of family-sustaining jobs, opening up a path for workers and their families to enter the middle class.
- Establish consistent and explicit anti-discrimination employment protections for LGBTQ+ moms and people, in addition to anti-discimination protections in housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.
- Passing the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights: The new Administration should provide leadership and work with Congress to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. It is the first comprehensive national legislation to transform domestic work jobs into good jobs. This bill would end current legal exclusions of domestic workers from federal workplace protections, create new rights and benefits to address the unique conditions of domestic work, and invest in implementation and enforcement to make workplace rights real and to deliver economic security. The new protections the bill creates include fair scheduling, written agreements on the terms and conditions of employment, privacy rights, stronger anti-retaliation protections, and meal and rest breaks. The bill also advances innovative policy to engage and empower domestic workers through an establishment of a transparent multi-stakeholder standards board.
“In the past 18 months my family has dealt with the sudden illness and death of my father and the arrival of my second child. I used saved vacation time to be with my father but after his death I only had two paid days to compose myself. Having used up all the saved vacation time I had, maternity leave with my new baby was only six weeks. This situation was not only difficult for me, my four year old also suffered because I was not able to be home to help her adjust to the quick changes in her family structure.”
– Laura, Pennsylvania
6. Childcare Priorities
The moms of America urge leaders to address the crisis of childcare in America. In the first 100 days it’s critical that we stabilize the childcare system while laying the foundation to ensure comprehensive and equitable childcare for all is guaranteed in the future. This includes:
- Continuing to prioritize comprehensive pandemic relief. The $10 billion that was part of the December COVID package is a hugely critical first step for families and providers who are struggling, but falls far short of the at least $40 billion the sector needs in relief funding overall. In addition, $1.45 billion for Head Start and explicit support for state preschool programs as part of investments in K-12 systems, as well as state, local, territory, and tribal fiscal aid is needed to secure and support our early education and care infrastructure.
- Workplace protections for parents to ensure no job loss because of lack of childcare and to leverage relief funding to eliminate additional fees and cost burdens for families.
- A comprehensive, federally funded child care system such as the Child Care for Working Families Act and the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act
The moms of America further urge leaders to truly stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Childcare Platform outlined below:
BELIEVE that all children deserve affordable, high-quality early learning opportunities to be ready and successful for school and life regardless of race, gender, zip code, ability, identity, immigration status or any other factor.
ENSURE parents and caregivers have a meaningful choice of safe, enriching care options for their children while they work or attend school; that children have safe, enriching early education and care so they can thrive; and that the workforce has sustainable, fair wages.
BUILD a gold standard high-quality, affordable childcare plan that:
- Recognizes and honors the important role of self-defined families in the lives of children.
- Creates universal access to affordable, high-quality early learning opportunities for children from birth to school age.
- Ensures families pay no more than 7% of their household income on childcare (through a sliding scale) regardless of how many children they have.
- Supports parents having a meaningful choice in care providers that meet their family’s needs – whether that be a center or family childcare home, friend, relative, or neighbor; and provides easy to access to information on programs including quality, standards, and key components in one place for families to evaluate program options that meet their needs.
- Provides for a diverse, well-trained, and fairly compensated workforce that reflects the children and families they serve, and supports positive and consistent interactions between caregivers, parents, and children with adequate paid time for professional development and alternative pathways to certification.
- Puts an end to childcare deserts with long waiting lists and disruptions in continuity of care by ensuring every neighborhood has high-quality childcare with enriching programming, with appropriate ratios, outdoor areas for safe play, and access to nutritious food and snacks.
- Includes flexible, hourly drop-in, and wider coverage options for working families with evening, weekend, and overnight care needs.
- Focuses on the whole child with attention to social-emotional development.
- Honors and supports home culture and language.
- Authentically engages and partners with families and meets the needs of each family to meaningfully engage in their child’s care and education.
- Eliminates and sets forth alternatives to punitive and biased disciplinary practices like the use of suspensions, and expulsions, restraint, and seclusion.
- Leads with an equity framework by integrating training and support on trauma-informed care, early intervention and services for children with disabilities, supporting dual language learners.
- Builds relationships with families that centers gender affirming, anti-bias, and anti-racist professional development and curriculum in order to best support the needs of all children and families.
“As a working mother, my family’s bills are high: there are student loans, there are groceries, there are utilities, there’s housing, and there is childcare. At a cost of $1,170 a month, childcare is a major out-of-pocket expense for my family. Even then, I’m lucky; my five-year-old spends most of the day in her public kindergarten, which is free; her monthly childcare costs are only the $270 I pay for aftercare. And the $900 I spend on my two-year-old’s care is less than half what I paid for her when she was still one. For infants in Washington, D.C., full-day childcare costs an average of nearly $2,000 a month.” –Joan, Washington, DC
7. Reproductive & Maternal Health Care Priorities
The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Reproductive & Maternal Health Care Platform outlined below. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to work tirelessly to save the lives of birthing and pregnant moms:
BELIEVE access to quality, affordable health care coverage that includes comprehensive reproductive and maternal health care coverage is essential to the health of our families and communities.
ENSURE that all people have access to quality, affordable reproductive and maternal health care coverage.
PRIORITIZE the health and well being of pregnant and birthing moms during COVID-19 by ensuring full support during labor, prioritizing pregnant people for testing, not automatically assuming that an infant of a pregnant woman who presents symptoms (but has not tested) is positive, minimizing instances of separation of babies and moms after birth, supporting shared decision making between parents and health care providers when mom and/or baby test positive, and promoting skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding.
SUPPORT policies that recognize that protecting a woman’s right to make decisions about her health care and universalizing access to comprehensive health care is a human right by:
- Fighting for quality, affordable reproductive health care. Ensure that every woman and family has access to quality, affordable health care coverage that includes comprehensive reproductive health care coverage, including for birth control and abortion care.
- Continuing to fund Planned Parenthood. Defunding Planned Parenthood would cut off health care – including birth control, cancer screenings, and other essential health services – for millions of low-income women, many of whom have no other health care provider.
- Advancing measures to improve maternal health. The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths during labor and delivery of any nation in the developed world. Black women suffer the most with a maternal mortality rate four times that of white women.
- Supporting legislation that addresses our nation’s maternal health crisis. The Black Maternal Health MOMNIBUS Act of 2020 (H.R. 6142/S. 3424), , Social Determinants for Moms (H.R. 6132), Kira Johnson Act (H.R. 6144), Protecting Moms Who Served Act (H.R. 6141), Perinatal Workforce Act (H.R. 6164), Data to Save Moms Act (H.R. 6165), Moms MATTER Act (H.R. 6143), Justice for Incarcerated Moms Act (H.R. 6129), Tech to Save Moms Act: (H.R. 6138), IMPACT to Save Moms Act (H.R. 6137) are important steps toward prioritizing maternal mortality and morbidity in our nation.
- Supporting legislation to protect abortion rights and continuing to advocate for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, a harmful bill that restricts government funds from being used to cover abortion—except in extremely limited circumstances—essentially ensuring that low-income women (and people of all gender identities) can’t access the same rights to safe, legal abortion as the rest of the population. The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act would eliminate federal coverage restrictions on abortion services, such as Hyde’s ban on coverage for Medicaid enrollees, and protect insurance providers from interference with their decision to cover abortion. Studies show that when policymakers place restrictions on Medicaid coverage of abortion, it forces one in four poor women to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. Discriminatory restrictions on insurance coverage do not belong in our public policy. The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) assures the right to access abortion care free from bans, obstacles, and medically unnecessary restrictions not required for similar health care services. These restrictions have severely reduced and even eliminated abortion access in large swaths of the country, creating a patchwork of access to care in the United States. WHPA would take crucial steps to protect essential reproductive health care and the constitutional rights of all people, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), young people, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, immigrant, and/or low income communities, everywhere.
- Promoting equitable access to health care services before, during, and after pregnancy. Resist dismantling of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid and expand access to health care. Support the expansion of Medicaid to all states and extend Medicaid to at least one year postpartum for those who have given birth. Prioritize increasing the federal matching rate, to facilitate states’ adoption of a coverage extension opportunity..Promote the demand for transparency and data collection relating to pregnancy and childbirth.
- Promoting health equity and antiracism measures throughout the health care delivery system. Ensure equal access to best practices and shared plans for childbirth emergencies for all doctors and hospitals, along with training.
“I had a C-section and the whole time I was there I could just tell that I didn’t feel well. They had me on antibiotics and didn’t tell me why. I didn’t know why it was necessary. So the day of discharge, I kept telling my nurses that I didn’t feel good. They said well all my vital signs were good and that I was ready to go home. I got home with my newborn and my then 8-year old son went to sleep [and I] woke up in the middle of the night sweating [with] chills. It felt like it was a full-blown fever. I had to call my mom who lives very far away to come pick up my children so I can call the ambulance. so I had to wait until she got there, which was an hour, to call an ambulance. I came to find out I had an infection in my C-section — something that I knew already in my heart before I left. Now I’m pregnant with my fourth child and I somehow ended up at the same hospital. I am very scared and I will discuss this with my doctor.“ – Tiffany, Newark, NJ
8. Immigration Priorities
The moms of America urge leaders to stand with all families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Immigration Platform outlined below:
BELIEVE that all families living in the United States, no matter their nationality, have the opportunity to contribute to our culture and economy.
ENSURE the fair and humane treatment of all immigrant families.
SUPPORT common-sense and humane immigration policies by:
- Creating a fair, efficient, and humane immigration policy that recognizes the contributions of women’s paid and unpaid work. Protecting those immigrant workers from exploitation and workplace retaliation in the form of deportation.
- Creating a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million new Americans who have lived their lives in the United States, including as DREAMers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and qualifying farmworkers and other essential workers.
- Protecting family unity by creating pathways that allow for mixed-status families to stay together legally in this country, without fear of separation.
- Ending the separation of families and protecting children. Provide clear protections for children’s basic rights, safety, and well-being, including government-funded legal counsel and advocates for children in immigration proceedings. Immediately end the harmful practices of family detention, protect parental rights, ensure due process, and increase alternatives to detention.
- Advancing policies and programs that keep families together, such as implementing administrative relief options to allow parents to live and work legally in the United States, halting deportations of parents, and reforming the family-based immigration system to address the backlogs and reunite more families.
- Restoring the rights of asylum seekers and honoring the right of due process. Ensure that immigrants are afforded true due process and a fair day in Immigration Court, including access to free, high quality legal representation.
- Engaging in oversight. Congress must engage in aggressive oversight of immigration enforcement agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, ICE, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and restrict funding for agencies responsible for human rights violations.
- Offering equal opportunity to immigrant women. Provide equal employment-based migration opportunities and workplace protections so that immigrant women can safely pursue economic opportunity.
- Ending programs and policies that discourage reporting crimes to law enforcement. Advance protections and expand programs like the Violence Against Women Act and U visas, which are set aside for victims of crime, women fleeing state and interpersonal violence, and victims of trafficking or exploitation.
- Ensuring that immigrants and their children have access to the services and supports all people need to thrive, including health care, nutrition, and other critical programs and income supports.
- Ending the use of private prisons and for-profit immigrant detention centers.
First 100 days administrative actions to undo the harm of the Trump Administration:
- Reinstate DACA and Redesignate TPS: Rescind the DHS memorandums that stripped protections for immigrants eligible for DACA. Protect TPS holders by re-designating TPS countries with TPS terminations and extensions.
- Rescind Immigrant Wealth Test: Reverse the Public Charge policy that deters immigrants from seeking the health care, nutrition, housing, and basic needs programs for which they are eligible, and makes it very difficult for low- and moderate-income families to immigrate
- Repeal Race and Religion-Based Bans: Repeal the bans that prevent individuals from Muslim-majority countries and refugees from entering the United States simply because of their religion or the color of their skin. Ensure immigration discrimination, based on race or religion, is prohibited for future administrations.
- Halt Destructive Enforcement Practices: Issue a one-year moratorium on all immigration enforcement, including but not limited to worksite raids and I-9 enforcement. Restructure DHS and ICE away from immigration enforcement.
- Protect Private Data: Reinforce and educate the public on existing privacy laws, regulations, and guidance documents governing immigrants’ personal information. Develop policies to terminate data sharing and data collection contracts with for-profit companies.
“I was a 28-year-old pregnant mother of three who was married to a US citizen. I was detained during an immigration proceeding, and spent over four weeks at Otay Mesa detention center in San Diego, California. My condition was inhumane, unnecessary, and put my life, and pregnancy at risk. I fear miscarrying due to a lack of access to the prenatal care I needed.” – Maria, California
9. Gun Safety Priorities
The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Gun Safety Platform outlined below:
BELIEVE that all families have the right to live in safe communities free of the gun violence epidemic, which has killed more Americans than all our wars combined.
ENSURE our nation advances gun safety, community safety, women’s safety, and responsible gun ownership.
BUILD wholesale cultural and policy reform that advances gun safety measures by:
- Advancing universal background checks on firearms sales, which up to 97% of Americans support, including gun owners.
- Banning military-grade assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, the weapons-of-choice for mass shooters that pose a significant threat to law enforcement.
- Advancing a strong federal anti–gun trafficking law with stiff penalties to discourage straw purchasing, which is the most common channel for illegal gun trafficking.
- Investing in evidence-based community anti-violence programs that have proven to significantly reduce gun violence in highly impacted communities.
- Rolling back Stand Your Ground laws, which facilitate racial profiling and casual gun culture, and are a huge step backward for civil rights.
- Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, closing the “boyfriend loophole” that allows stalkers and abusive dating partners to access firearms.Supporting extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) that allow family members and law enforcement, with a court order, to temporarily deny firearms access to people at risk of physical harm to themselves or others.
- Reversing the transfer of jurisdiction over international arms sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department, whose sole purpose is to increase international sales of American products. At State, such transfers were treated as national security issues.
- #DisarmHate – Prohibiting individuals who have been convicted of hate crimes, including misdemeanors, from accessing firearms.
- Investing in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for more streamlined and comprehensive record collection.
“I was 25 years old and studying to be a veterinarian when I got the worst call of my life – my aunt Shelley has been shot to death in a downtown courthouse by a distant family member. Domestic violence takes many forms and family violence is stigmatized and rarely discussed. Everyone knew this person would hurt someone but there were no laws in place to protect my aunt Shelley. The shooter utilized the gunshow loophole, stalked and threatened Shelley for months, and killed her.” – Rachael Joseph is a MomsRising member and founder and executive director of Survivors Lead
10. Voting Rights & Democracy Protection Priorities
The moms of America urge leaders to stand with families by putting forward policies that meet the Mom Voting Rights & Democracy Protection Platform outlined below:
BELIEVE our right to vote is essential to our communities’ and our nation’s health.
ENSURE that every vote is counted and that there is no place for voter suppression.
SUPPORT policies that will further the goal of restoring voting rights and protecting the integrity of our democracy by:
- Restoring the Voting Rights Act, streamlining voter registration, and ensuring nationwide early voting. Reforming campaign financing and donation disclosure rules to curb the corrupting power of dark money in our elections and ensure our democracy really works for the people.
- Curbing extreme gerrymandering by requiring states to use independent redistricting commissions to draw Congressional districts.
- Improving election security by replacing paperless voting machines and providing new grants for states to enhance election security measures.
- Strengthening ethics rules for the Executive Branch, Congress, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Supporting HR1, the For the People Act, to reinforce the foundations of our democracy and advance comprehensive democracy reform by getting big money out of politics, making voting simpler, and holding elected officials accountable for corruption.
Download MomsRising’s Mandate for America (PDF)