Vice President Kamala Harris visited Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) and Gov. Phil Murphy at Montclair State University today to promote the Biden administration’s plans on child care, as both Harris and Sherrill work to get Biden’s Build Back Better plan passed by Congress.
The plans’s reconciliation bill, which has thus far been blocked by a small number of moderate Democrats, includes child care funding and provisions that Sherrill called “a game changer.”
“I think what [the vice president] heard was what a struggle it’s always been to find child care, and Covid … has made an already delicate, difficult situation worse,” she said after the event. “Parents who normally were helpful couldn’t be helpful because they risked exposure to Covid, and kids who were normally in school part of the day weren’t in school.”
Sherrill believed earlier plans from the White House on child care did not go far enough towards addressing some of its most critical problems, such as the extremely limited spots and long wait lists currently present at most New Jersey facilities. But the congresswoman said she has worked to convince the administration of the broader impacts of affordable child care.
“This isn’t simply about supporting women as they’re trying to work outside the home,” Sherrill said. “This is about ensuring we have the workforce for our economy. This is far more broad than simply child care, or a children’s issue or a women’s issue – this is a huge economic issue for the country.”
“What I was really glad to hear from the vice president was the sense of urgency,” she added. “We’ve got to pass the bipartisan bill and the reconciliation bill because we have these critical needs.”
Harris also met with Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) and Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller this morning to push for expanded Covid vaccine eligibility, as part of the vice president’s daylong trip to the state.