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WI caregivers say poll underscores need for 'Build Back Better'

Professional helpful caregiver and a senior man during home visit
Gecko Studio - stock.adobe.com
Professional helpful caregiver at nursing home. Health visitor and a senior man during home visit. Young caregiver in uniform helping to elderly man for shave his face

New polling data from a dozen states, including Wisconsin, show public support for a key part of the Biden administration's economic agenda. Groups that advocate for caregivers hope it translates into action.

According to the left-leaning Data for Progress, 67% of likely Wisconsin voters back the administration's Build Back Better initiative being hammered out in Congress. Supporters say the budget-reconciliation package would address investment shortfalls in many areas, including for people who work as caregivers.

Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, said boosting caregivers' wages would help throughout the state.

"All of Wisconsin," he said, "and especially areas that lack a lot of good, living-wage jobs, like our rural areas."

The administration is asking Congress to invest $400 billion to expand access to home- and community-based care, for the nation's aging population and people living with disabilities. Aside from Republican opposition, the $3.5 trillion package faces pushback from business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

However, Mary Kay Henry, international president of the Service Employees International Union, said opponents shouldn't overlook the new polling data. She said it points to demand for policymakers to carve out better futures for Americans struggling to achieve economic stability.

"And in red states, blue states, purple states, investing in care jobs is an urgent priority," she said, "and it's broadly popular among Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike."

For Wisconsin, the poll found 83% of likely voters backing investments in long-term care under the Biden plan. A majority also backs how the plan is paid for, including 76% of respondents who say they support increasing the capital gains tax on wealthy Americans.

Mike Moen is the Morning Edition producer and serves as a staff reporter for WNIJ. Every morning, he works with Dan Klefstad to bring listeners the latest Illinois news. He also works with the rest of the news staff on developing and producing in-depth stories. Mike is a Minnesota native who likes movies, history, and baseball. When most people hear his last name, they assume he is 100-percent Scandinavian. But, believe it or not, he is mostly German.
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