Valerie Jarrett, former Senior Advisor to President Obama, sat down with Yahoo Finance's Seana Smith to discuss the Biden administration's new child tax credit and the chances of paid family leave provisions in the upcoming reconciliation bill.
SEANA SMITH: The child tax credit that started hitting bank accounts for millions of Americans over the last several days. I know that you have spoken out in support of this. I guess, why do you think this is such a smart use of federal funds and why this is so important here in terms of helping the economy recover from the pandemic?
VALERIE JARRETT: It's helping hardworking families. And we know that there are countless families around our country that are still struggling notwithstanding the fact that we've seen the economy growing and making sure that we have resources available to bring our children out of poverty, to ensure that we have affordable child care. So many working families, particularly working moms, have been stuck in this horrible limbo of not being able to afford childcare for their children so that they can go back and work.
And so I think what President Biden is doing is redefining infrastructure, not just roads and bridges, kind of the infrastructure of the last century, but infrastructure to support working families so that they are able to go back to work and able to get the skills that they need to compete for the jobs of the future. And so this more holistic approach to rebuilding our economy I think positions the United States to be globally competitive.
SEANA SMITH: And Valerie, there are some people who say that these extra benefits, the extra income here for families right now with children, that that should become permanent. Where do you stand on that?
VALERIE JARRETT: I strongly believe it should be permanent. But I also think-- and I also think that we need to have paid leave permanent, at least three months of paid leave for families, not just for children. But we all now know that our senior citizens are aging. And many times, those responsibilities fall on their children to take care of them.
And so recognizing that we want people to come to work and be able to devote themselves fully. And so we have to look at ways of supporting those working families so that they can fulfill their responsibilities outside of work to be able to focus on their work.
SEANA SMITH: And when we talk about paid family leave, this is, of course, a very important topic for so many lawmakers down on Capitol Hill. There's been a big push. I spoke with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney about the importance of including paid family leave in the next infrastructure bill. I guess, when we talk about the importance of this, how substantially this could help the economy recover, I mean, what's your reading on this? And I guess how confident are you that this will be included in the infrastructure talks?
VALERIE JARRETT: Well, look, I certainly hope it will. And on a personal note, 35 years ago, I had four months paid leave from my law firm. And that allowed me to bond with my daughter, give me time to heal and get ready to go back to work. And it was such an extraordinary benefit. That's 35 years ago.
So the fact that the United States is one of the only developed countries in the world that doesn't have a paid leave policy shows that we are lagging. We're falling behind. And right now, let's face it. Employees can work for companies all over the world without having to move. And if the rest of the world is offering this benefit, and we are not, then we are losing our competitive edge. And we're not supporting working families.