One thing I hear regularly from families in Connecticut is that while they are working harder than ever, it is getting more difficult to make ends meet. The people I talk to just want to be able to put food on the table, pay their bills, and have a little left over to save for the future. In the richest country in the world, that shouldn’t be a pipe dream - it should be attainable for everyone. Especially after the unique difficulty families have faced in making ends meet over the past two years, I believe we need to recommit to passing legislation that will significantly improve the economic conditions and kitchen table budgets of every family.
That’s why I support policies that make it easier for people who work hard to get ahead, like raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, making child care more affordable, and ensuring equal pay for women. Toward these efforts, I’m a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that will guarantee women are paid the same as their male colleagues for equal work. I also want to make sure that when it comes to their careers, workers have a seat at the table and aren’t being taken advantage of by large corporations, which is why I am a cosponsor of the Schedules That Work Act, which would improve working conditions for hourly employees, and I introduced the Workforce Mobility Act to make it easier for workers to pursue new jobs and higher wages without fearing legal action from their former employers. And we simply have to make sure child care is affordable for every family, rather than a necessary service that’s out of reach financially for many families and breaking the budgets of those who can pay for it. That is why I cosponsored the Child Care for Working Families Act, which would ensure families can find and afford high-quality child care by providing financial assistance so no working-class family pays more than seven percent of their income for child care costs, along with expanding access to preschool programs for three- and four-year-olds.
I also want to make sure that families have the tools they need to balance work with caring for their loved ones. The United States is one of the only developed nations without paid family leave, and that needs to change. That’s why I support the FAMILY Act, a bill that would make sure that new parents and people facing serious personal or family health issues could take the time they need without fear of losing their jobs or coming up short on income.
Finally, thousands of people in Connecticut are already taking time to provide care for a loved one, like an aging parent or a child with special needs. These caregivers often have to step away from their jobs to take care of a family member, jeopardizing not just their income, but also their long-term plans for retirement. I introduced the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act to provide modest retirement compensation to people who had to leave the workforce or reduce their hours to care for a loved one.