As White House crafts economic agenda, worker benefits are front-of-mind

Over the holiday break, White House economic officials are expected to brief President Joe Biden on their priorities for the coming year. They are considering a push for more employee benefits to bring people back to the workforce, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 21. 

"Where are places where we can lower price pressures in the economy, lower costs for consumers and increase the productive potential of the economy? The things that we will prioritize and focus on will be in that area," Brian Deese, the director of the White House's National Economic Council, told the Journal

Mr. Deese did not specify what will be presented to President Biden, but the White House previously advocated for paid family leave, universal prekindergarten and permanent expansion of the Child Tax Credit. Passing these items may be more difficult when Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives next year, the Journal reported. 

However, many economists say that expanded child care benefits will help get young women — a group which has been underrepresented in the labor market — back into it. 

"When we look at areas where we can make progress, one is on helping working parents," Mr. Deese told the Journal. "Providing quality, affordable child care actually helps to reduce cost burdens on families and gets more people working."

The administration is also looking at workforce training models to connect people with high-growth opportunities, as well as ways to reduce housing costs, according to the Journal.

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