“The purpose of the economy is to enable families to thrive,” the bishops said. They cited the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, which emphasizes the need for all sectors of society to promote employment policies that “do not penalize but rather support the family nucleus.”
The Labor Day statement noted the end of the Roe v. Wade pro-abortion rights Supreme Court precedent last year and cited the bishops’ response urging “radical solidarity with mothers, children, and families.” This kind of solidarity must promote “an authentically life-affirming society that truly prioritizes the well-being of families and generously welcomes new life.” The statement cited the USCCB’s long history of backing social safety net programs for affordable food, housing, and medical care and its support for just wages, safe working conditions, and organized labor.
The U.S. bishops called on Congress to strengthen the Child Tax Credit, describing this policy as “a powerful pro-family and anti-poverty program” that “currently excludes too many children in need.” The tax credit should become fully refundable to maximize its impact on low-income families. The tax credit must apply to all families with U.S. citizen children, regardless of parents’ immigration status. It should be available for the year before a child is born, and it should not be paid for through cuts to programs that serve people in need, the bishops said.
In addition, the bishops advocated national, well-crafted paid family leave policies. They called for better access to affordable, quality child care and pre-kindergarten as well as support for families who care for children at home.
“Child care is one of the biggest expenses in many families’ budgets, and it is causing many families to have fewer children than they would like. At the same time, the child care sector itself is plagued with low wages for workers, making it difficult for them to meet the needs of their own families,” the bishops said.
Their statement also cited successes in Congress, including the extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage for a year after birth and the passage of legislation requiring better workplace accommodations for nursing mothers.