Harris to meet with CEOs on child care proposals -White House

by Reuters
Thursday, 12 August 2021 13:22 GMT

(Adds details from White House, background)

WASHINGTON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with the chief executives of seven companies including Microsoft Corp on Thursday to discuss the Biden administration's child care proposals as the White House seeks broad support for its agenda.

The heads of Etsy Inc, AirBnB Inc, Gap Inc , Chobani, Seventh Generation and Patagonia will also attend, a White House official said.

They and Harris will discuss how childcare provisions in Build Back Better, Biden's agenda for the economy's post-pandemic recovery, "will lower costs for families, help businesses and grow the economy," the official said.

On Wednesday, Biden met with business and education leaders including the heads of United Airlines and health care provider Kaiser Permanente to discuss efforts to address ways to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19.

The virus has upended the economy and killed more than 617,000 people nationwide.

The White House did not specify why the seven companies participating in Thursday's event were chosen and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Businesses have in general struggled to hire workers during the pandemic for various reasons, though unemployment has fallen after spiking last year amid widespread shutdowns.

Under Build Back Better, Democrats are pushing a $3.5 trillion budget plan that would tackle childcare, climate, health and other "soft" infrastructure, having passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus-related bill into law in March.

The larger package includes $726 billion for universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds and child care for working families, among other education subsidies.

"When workers don't have adequate care for their families, that can translate to lower productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover – all hurting the bottom line for businesses," the official said, adding that a separate coalition of more than 275 businesses had backed the child care proposal. (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Susan Heavey; Editing by Lisa Lambert, Hugh Lawson and John Stonestreet)

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