The House Budget Committee this week held a hearing titled “Ensuring Women Can Thrive in a Post Pandemic Economy” to analyze the economic and social impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women and what lessons can be learned from the response to the pandemic.
House Budget Committee Republican Leader Jason Smith (MO-08) discussed in his opening statement how the labor force participation of women was disproportionately impacted not because of the COVID-19 virus, but instead due to Democrat policies in response to the pandemic. For example:
- Working mothers represent 27 percent of Americans who left the workforce during the pandemic and were uniquely impacted by Democrat-led policies such as shutting down schools and businesses.
- The Democrats’ $2 trillion so-called American Rescue Plan – of which less than 9 percent went to combatting COVID-19 – has sparked a 40-year high spike in prices that is undermining paychecks and family budgets.
Smith noted that some of the Democrats’ proposed solutions – including policies in their $5 trillion “Build Back Better” bill – would further drive up prices, reduce incentives to work, and increase the cost of child care for many mothers. Specifically:
- The Congressional Budget Office has found that the Democrats’ government mandated child care proposal would raise costs for those middle-class families whose care is not subsidized.
- Working mothers would face a choice: work less to qualify for subsidized care or pay more out of pocket.
Smith also pointed out that the United States knows how to create an economic environment under which all Americans – but particularly women – can find greater opportunity to thrive. Under the economic policies of President Trump – which included regulatory relief and tax relief that put money back in the pockets of working families and spurred substantial growth – the labor force participation rate for women reached nearly 58 percent, and over 72 percent for mothers – the highest since 2000. In addition, median real earnings for women grew by 9.6 percent – a full two percentage points higher than wage growth for men. Conversely, under President Biden’s economic policies, earnings for women have gone down by 2.6 percent. While the wage gap between women and men grew smaller under President Trump, unfortunately for millions of women around the country the gap is now widening under President Biden.
“…Let’s be clear: under President Trump, earnings for women grew substantially and more so than earnings for men. Under President Biden, wage growth for women has declined and declined more so than for men. The data does not lie. It tells a clear story about how damaging lockdown policies and a Washington-knows-best spending agenda have been and will be for women. To help women thrive in a post-pandemic economy, Washington needs to stop with the permanent pandemic narrative, stop undermining wages with inflationary-spending, and stop telling Americans – particularly women – how to raise their kids.”
– House Budget Committee Republican Leader Jason Smith
Click here or on the image to view House Budget Committee Republican Leader Smith’s full opening statement.
Carrie Lukas, President of the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) and working mother of five, was the only witness to testify in-person. Her testimony shined an important spotlight on how Democrat policies that virtualized school and kept children out of classrooms and mothers out of the workforce has negatively impacted women across the country. Lukas pointed out that women have yet to fully recover from the lockdown policies of the pandemic, and women in Democrat-led states are even further behind:
“The economic losses have not been uniform throughout the country: Rather they have been most profound in states that most aggressively shut down schools and locked down their economies. In these states – disproportionately led by Democratic governors and state legislatures – women are still suffering the worst economic effects and have the highest rates of unemployment. Reduced earnings and lower labor force participation will lead to lower earnings for women not just today but for years to come.”
– Carrie Lukas, President of Independent Women’s Forum
Click here or on the image below for Carrie Lukas’ opening statement.
House Budget Committee Republican Leader Smith also asked all witnesses about the impact inflation has had on their families, as a result of the Democrats’ spending agenda. IWF President Lukas was the only one to respond and noted that inflation is undercutting wages and devastating working mothers when they visit the grocery store or buy supplies for their children.