Rep. Panetta Fights for Paid Family Leave and Medicare Expansion as House Ways and Means Committee Passes Key Build Back Better Provisions

September 10, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) voted to pass a package of bills through the House Ways and Means Committee to make crucial investments to create jobs, lower the cost of health care, and support America’s workers and families.  This package makes up key portions of President Biden’s Build Back Better Act. Next week, the Ways and Means Committee will continue consideration of this package to provide tax cuts to working families, incentivize clean energy, and strengthen our healthcare system.

“We have a once in a generation opportunity to invest in our infrastructure and our families,” said Congressman Panetta. “The provisions we passed this week will create universal paid family and medical leave, expand health coverage, strengthen retirement security, and invest in our workers. With this legislation we can strengthen the foundations of our economy and set up the American people for success.”

This package of bills passed today by the Committee:

  • Creates universal paid family medical leave for every American
  • Expands effective health workforce training
  • Expands Medicare coverage to include dental, hearing, and vision benefits
  • Strengthens retirement security
  • Invests in expanding child care access
  • Protects seniors living in nursing homes
  • Modernizes key trade programs

The package includes legislation introduced by Congressman Panetta, the Health CARE Training Act.  The package reauthorizes and expands the Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) program.  This bill requires that any Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) program offer participants training hours that meet state and industry standards.  This helps participants receive valuable credentials they can use to get jobs, generate wealth for their families, and go on to earn additional credentials in the future.  This is also invaluable for health care employers, who know that graduates of these programs have the training and expertise necessary to provide high-quality care.

The package also includes provisions of legislation that Congressman Panetta introduced with Congresswoman Judy Chu to expand the Saver’s Credit to create a fully-refundable Saver’s Match, which will ensure that lower-income families without tax liabilities can take advantage of this incentive to save.  The policy will offer matching contributions for the first time to millions of individuals not covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan, including those who save through an IRA under a state or local government program, such as CalSavers.

The package expands and reforms the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program as well, which includes re-establishing the TAA for Community Colleges Program and TAA for Farmers, which has been especially helpful for our specialty crop producers, who received little support from the previous Administration.  Despite successes, TAA for Community Colleges has received little funding since its initial funding over a decade ago, and the TAA for Farmers Program was significantly underfunded.