Democrats face tortuous choices in how to potentially pick and choose from proposals to invest in child care and promote women's participation in the workforce as they look for ways to scale back their massive legislation to expand the nation’s social safety net.
They’re faced with difficult questions of whether to prioritize a universal paid family leave policy, extend the child tax credit or fund universal preschool and child care subsidies as they try to accommodate key centrist holdouts.
Proponents contend all of the proposals work in tandem to help families with young children before they're old enough to enroll in school.
They also argue that eliminating any of them would undermine the overall goal of supporting women, a key constituency that helped deliver Democrats' control of Congress and the White House. Data shows that more than 1.6 million women have dropped out of the workforce during the pandemic, bringing their labor force participation to the lowest level in more than three decades.