- The vice president spoke at a virtual town hall on Thursday advocating the Build Back Better plan.
- VP Kamala Harris said that family leave is often pushed aside because it primarily impacts women.
- It's not prioritized because "because most people who rely on care are women, and most people who supply care are also women."
Vice President Kamala Harris argued in favor of the Biden administration's Build Back Better agenda, saying that the caregiving economy is pushed aside because it primarily impacts women, during a virtual town hall on Thursday.
According to Harris, paid time off and, specifically, paid family leave isn't prioritized "because most people who rely on care are women, and most people who supply care are also women. So it is time to make care a top priority."
"For working people and for working women in particular, care is a prerequisite to be able to get to work," she added.
She said that the average family has to spend 13% of their income on childcare, which can often cost more than housing, healthcare, or in-state college tuition in some states.
The $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan aims to improve conditions for working families. The legislation would cut the cost of childcare in half, extend the child tax credit, increase paid leave, and expand care for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
Critics of the agenda like Sen. Joe Manchin said that the reconciliation bill will give Americans an "entitlement mentality."
"I cannot accept our economy, or basically our society, moving towards an entitlement mentality," said the Senator. "I can help those who really need help if those who help themselves do so."
Democrats are currently negotiating on Biden's $3.5 trillion 10-year agenda, as some senators like Manchin want to see the price tag lowered. This could mean cuts to improvement in healthcare, childcare, climate change solutions, and education.
During the town hall, the vice president seemed to counter that claim: "This is about allowing people the dignity with which they deserve and want to live."
The White House and the Office of Senator Joe Manchin did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Watch the full clip here: