GOP Rep. Nancy Mace on Thursday warned that Republicans need to increase their focus on addressing high-priority issues for women voters, such as “child care, maternal care, prenatal care [and] abortion,” if they want to retain their slim House majority in 2024.
“We are going to lose the House if we don’t fine-tune the policies that we’re working on for women. And the Senate is in jeopardy there, too,” Mace (R-S.C.) said during a POLITICO Live event hosted by Women Rule. “The status quo is not going to be good enough. What are you going to do that’s going to be different? What kind of meaningful change are you going to bring to the lives of women? Because if you don’t do that, nobody’s going to support you, and I feel very passionate about that.”
Mace added that “in the post-Roe era, it is a political issue.”
“In 2024, if either nominee or neither nominee talk about women’s issues: child care, maternal care, prenatal care, abortion, et cetera … they will not win. And I’m very much alone in this fight right now,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m conservative. I’m pro-life, but I also can read the room.”
Over her two congressional terms, Mace has pushed for greater government promotion of family planning resources and increased access to birth control. She insisted on Thursday that part of any candidate’s future electoral success depends on addressing such issues — especially given Republicans’ struggles to capture the interest of suburban women.
“As a party, I think we come across like a-holes sometimes on women’s issues,” Mace said.
Mace joined Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Moms First CEO Reshma Saujani, who also founded its parent organization Girls Who Code, to discuss how they believe Congress should better address a growing child care crisis. The two lawmakers launched the Congressional Bipartisan Affordable Childcare Caucus in June.
As part of President Joe Biden’s pandemic relief package passed in March 2021, the federal government spent about $24 billion on relief for child care providers — the first expenditure of its kind in U.S. history. But that money is set to run out in September.
“Over 3 million kids are going to be left without child care, hundreds of thousands of child care workers are going to be out of a job. That is a threat to our economic security,” Saujani said. “Congress acted faster on having Taylor Swift hearings on like Ticketmaster than they have on the child care cliff, and that is absolutely unacceptable.”
Last year, the average price of child care was more than $10,000 per year, according to Child Care Aware of America, and the cost could be even higher in 2023.
Mace said that within the Republican Party, addressing child care funding before the September end date has not come up in conversations. And in the past, bipartisan child care efforts have not gotten far in Congress.
Khanna said the caucus is working toward crafting legislation that would allow families to choose what form of child care they receive, which he hopes can receive some bipartisan support.
“Our legislation, which says $10 a day should be the highest cost for a family, would provide maximum flexibility,” Khanna said. “We’re trying to work on that in a way that if the whole thing doesn’t get bipartisan support, at least part of it can.”
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