Biden unveils plan for caregiver workforce in New Castle speech

NEW CASTLE – Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday pushed for a early childhood educator and caregiving workforce built to reduce family financial stress that existed even before the nation’s COVID-19 pandemic arrived.

“If we truly want to reward work in this country, we have to ease the financial burden of care that families are carrying,” according to Mr. Biden’s remarks.

“And we have to elevate the compensation, benefits and dignity of caregiving workers and early childhood educators.”

The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate nominee spoke for 23 minutes at the Colwyck Training Center in New Castle, site of the Colonial Early Education Program.

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks in New Castle on Tuesday afternoon. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

Describing them as doing “God’s work,” Mr. Biden proposed enhancing benefits for caregivers and early childhood educators through more affordable health insurance, a path to unionization and collective bargaining.

“This plan will help workers, especially those without a college degree, gain new skills in good-paying industries like health care, and provide new pathways to advance their careers,” he said.

Under a Biden administration, he said a child care tax credit up to $8,000 would be available for child care, and 3- and 4-year-old children would have “access to free, high-quality preschool like students have at this center.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Republican National Committee spokesperson Michael Joyce released a statement that read:

“Joe Biden has failed caregivers and the education workforce throughout his disastrous 50-year tenure in elected office.

“Meanwhile, President Trump is leading the Great American comeback and working to safely reopen schools across America.”

According to the longtime U.S. senator who represented Delaware, “low-to middle-income families won’t spend more than 7% of their income on child care for children under age 5.”

Or, as an alternative, “the federal government would send funding to states, which then work with child care providers to cover the costs for working families with young children over 7% of their income,” Mr. Biden said.

Touting the childcare.gov created in the Obama-Biden administration, Mr. Biden laid out the process for finding the best child care options for a family.

“Under my plan, it takes you to your state website,” he said. “Local child centers pop up. You can call or fill in your information. You apply. The state then sends you a letter saying that you’re approved and lays out the amount you’re going to pay.

“The state sends that information to the child care provider. And then the state reimburses that child care center on the back end.”

Mr. Biden lamented the system delaying home and community care benefits through Medicated for 800,000 people, some he said are waiting five years.

“My plan makes a bold investment so that states can clear that waiting list,” he said. “And to make sure we ease the financial burden for more families going forward, we will make long-term federal investments.

“We will have a major innovation fund to allow states to test and expand successful ways that improve home and community care, increase prevention, and reduce costs and hospitalizations.

“Think of expanded vital services like rides to appointments, meals and day programs for seniors, and making their homes safer for them.”

The plan would enhance provisions in the Affordable Care Act, which Mr. Biden claimed President Donald Trump “ceaselessly tries to gut.”

In his program, Mr. Biden envisions $775 billion in savings over 10 years could build “our economy back better than before.”

According to the Delaware State chairman of the Trump-Pence re-election campaign Rob Arlett in a statement afterward “While President Trump is leading the Great American Comeback and working to safely reopen America’s schools, Joe Biden can only offer empty rhetoric. Biden has had 50 years to fix child and home care, so why should Delawareans trust him now?”

Before homing in on his latest announced plans, Mr. Biden recapped the first two facets of the Build Back America program:

“The first plank rejects the defeatist view that automation and globalization mean we can’t ensure American workers lead us to a future Made in America,” he said.

“The second plank helps us outcompete the rest of the world and tackle climate change. It will put millions of Americans to work in good union jobs, modernizing our infrastructure while building a clean energy future. “