March 7, 2022 | Priya Elangovan

While we firmly believe that all issues are women’s issues, we wanted to take a minute to highlight a few of the proposals highlighted in President Biden’s State of the Union this week that would have a disproportionate impact on women and what the status is on those policies. While the President outlined a number of different potential policies and priorities, we wanted to highlight a few that would have a major impact for women.

Expanding the Child Tax Credit (CTC)  

  • The last monthly extended payment was back in December, but eligible families will still receive the lump sum portion of the credit on their tax returns in April. After that, the payments will return to their pre-2021 amounts and eligibility:
    • The credit is $2000 per child 16 and under, and provided as a lump sum in your tax returns
    • The credit is non-refundable, meaning that families with no income or who own less than $2000 in taxes will not be eligible for the full credit
    • The payments will begin to phase out for incomes above $200,000 (or $400,000 for joint filers)
  • Researchers at Columbia University estimated that the end of the monthly payments caused the child poverty rate to go up 5% to 17%
  • The permanent expansion of the CTC was one of the components of the President’s Build Back Better plan, whether it will be included in the soon to be negotiated budget remains to be seen
  • While 79% of the families who received the expanded credits found them helpful, support for the expansion of the credit was more mixed 
Graph of public opinion on extending the expanded child tax credit by party affiliation

The Paycheck Fairness Act

  • The Paycheck Fairness Act passed the house in June and has since stalled in the Senate. The bill is bipartisan having passed with one Republican vote.
  • The bill targets equal pay and wage discrimination on the basis of sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity
  • It also prohibits employers from preventing employees from disclosing and discussing their salary with coworkers
  • It also creates greater penalties for employers that violate equal pay provisions, and a task force to enforce the provisions
  • The gender pay gap is a persistent issue across all industries and is even more stark for women of color and women with disabilities

The Equality Act (HR5/S393)

  • The Equality Act is bipartisan legislation focused on combatting discrimination against LGBTQ+ people
  • It prohibits discrimination in public spaces, education, federal funding, employment, housing, and more
  • The House passed their version of the bill back in February and it is being debated in committee in the Senate

VAWA

  • You can check out our detailed breakdown of the main changes to the 2022 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act here
  • Passing the reauthorization of VAWA would build on the recent bipartisan survivor-centric legislation to end forced arbitration of sexual assault and harrasment in the workplace

Other notable parts of the speech include the announcement of more free COVID tests being made available at COVIDTests.gov, a discussion of the appointment of Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, and highlights of some of the projects funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.