Today, the Ways and Means Committee marked up a portion of the Build Back Better Act, including the portion which funds the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs, securing key enhancements to better support displaced workers, while also providing funding to improve the Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) program, including provisions to promote nursing home safety, invest in seniors and individuals with disabilities and the long-term care workforce, and expanding Medicare coverage to include vision, dental, and hearing care. Congresswoman Moore released the following statement:
“The Build Back Better Act expands new opportunities for our most vulnerable workers. In our 21st century, globally connected economy, there are benefits and costs, including to American workers. TAA programs help workers, firms, and communities negatively affected by trade by supporting investments to help them navigate an ever-changing economy and get back on their feet. But there’s opportunities to ensure TAA reaches those who have been shut out due to strict eligibility criteria, limited cash support, and a lack of childcare. The Build Back Better Act honors the obligation we have to support displaced workers by addressing these shortcomings. I am so proud that this legislation includes an initiative I have been fighting for, to secure a childcare allowance, to eliminate a barrier many trade-impacted workers face when seeking work.
With this bill, we also enhance a program that helps low-income individuals enter health careers in order to exit poverty. I am especially proud that this legislation includes my bill, which ensures TANF recipients can pursue doula and midwifery careers through the Health Professional Opportunity Grant program. With this bill, we make efforts to build a culturally competent perinatal health care workforce, which will help us fight the maternal health crisis that claims too many Black and Native women. For years, TANF has forced low-income women to pursue jobs with no chance to move up, and no way to pursue education and training to do so. Today’s legislation does something to rectify this injustice.
Building back better also protecting the health and wellbeing of America’s seniors. High-quality nursing homes must be available for those who can’t or choose not to get care they need in other settings, including their homes. I am a Boomer myself, and I know that in America, 10,000 people turn 65 every day. The pandemic has made it clear that we need to invest in our nursing home workforce. Worker shortages impact the quality-of-care seniors receives and their health outcomes. I am delighted that this legislation makes crucial investments in our elder care workforce and includes provisions that provide oversight in our nursing homes so that seniors and people with disabilities are safe, healthy, and well cared for.
Additionally, we are better supporting seniors and individuals with disabilities by enhancing Medicare to include hearing, vision, and dental care. As we age, our eyes, ears and teeth need care and attention. To me, making this improvement is a no-brainer. As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’
Today’s markup was a down payment on needed investments in our workers, seniors, Americans with disabilities, and I look forward to building on this progress.”