But I also remember her coming home tired and soaking her feet. In the winter months, I remember the clear stress showing on her face when I was sick, and she had to pick up the phone and hope she could get a day off. When school was cancelled for snow one day, I remember her calling frantically around to my relatives to see if she could drop me off. She couldn’t miss another day of work without risking her job and paycheck. And she couldn’t afford to lose her job-based health insurance that covered her daughter that caught everything going around that winter.
And don’t think for a minute that her stress didn’t impact me. I saw it and I felt it. It distracted me from my schoolwork and made me feel quiet on the playground. It made my stomach hurt.
In 2008, the potential Mom saw in having a woman as president was this: to finally see our country recognize that women need help to be both good moms and productive workers. She understood that work wasn’t a choice for many women but rather a financial necessity.
Returning to today, I remember her adage “you win some, you lose some.” And that Mom was quick to pivot and support the young senator from Illinois. And she knocked on even more doors.
Next week, Congress is expected to move forward with a compromise “Build Back Better” package. It certainly will be a “you win some, you lose some” kind of package. While I expect to be very disappointed that some key health provisions end up dropped, the package will include some historic gains for West Virginia moms and their families.
How done is this deal? We have a final “framework” and major changes are unlikely.
And also remember that there could be a path forward at the state level. West Virginia could join nine other states that have enacted paid leave protections for workers.
Another loss is the provision to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and lower costs for all Americans. I do want to thank Manchin for steadfastly supporting this provision.
Even acknowledging these disappointments, the bottom line is that Congress needs to move this compromise Build Back Better package across the finish line. Even with some disappointments, West Virginia families will definitely benefit from this package.
The package still includes positive provisions including an extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit for one year, additional new money to help families defray the cost of childcare, funding for home care for disabled and elderly West Virginians, lower health insurance premiums on healthcare.gov, a new Medicare hearing benefit and new housing and food assistance. And these provisions are paid for and will not add to the federal budget deficit.
I urge Manchin to remember the needs of struggling West Virginia families and vote to take this positive step forward for West Virginia families.
And I ask that Manchin remember that despite his dedication to bipartisanship, it is unlikely that a single one of his Republican colleagues will vote yes for the Build Back Better final compromise package.
Kathleen Stoll serves as the Policy Director for West Virginians for Affordable Health Care (wvahc.org) and operates a policy and economic consulting business, Kat Consulting.