Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D- N.Y., on Thursday continued her attack against former vice president Joe Biden over a 1981 op-ed the then- Sen. Biden authored arguing against the expansion of a childcare tax credit.
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“What he wrote (in) an op-ed was that he believed that women working outside the home would quote: ‘create the deterioration of family.’ He also said that women who were working outside the home were quote: ‘avoiding responsibility,’” Gillibrand raised in Wednesday night’s Democratic debate in Detroit.
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Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand delivers her opening statement during the second round of the second Democratic primary debate in Detroit, July 31, 2019.
“That was a long time ago,” Biden shot back. ‘And here’s what it was about. It would have given people making — today — $100,000 a year a tax break for childcare. I did not want that. I wanted the childcare to go to people making less than $100,000. And that’s what it was about” Biden said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates, July 31, 2019, in Detroit.
Biden’s op-ed, entitled “Congress is Subsidizing Deterioration of Family” argued against the expansion of the tax credit for families making more than the equivalent of $85,000 in today’s dollars — or more if they chose to have two parents work. Biden argued that it was more beneficial for children to have a parent stay at home with a child, and even went so far as to say that families who chose to have two working parents not out of necessity were an example of the ‘cancer of materialism.’
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But fact checks have pointed out Biden did not specifically single out women in the article 40 years ago. Rather, he talked about parents in general, and in an article from the same time said it was up to families to decide if they “want the man or the woman to take that (childcare) responsibility.”
““Give me a break, give me a break. Who in 1981 was going to be staying home to watch the children? It’s obvious. Typically, in most families, women. Women are still the primary caregivers,” Gillibrand said when pushed on the clarification on CNN’s “New Day.”
“We need women of America who must work. Most of us must work and many of us want to help our communities, whether we’re nurses or doctors or whether teachers or members of Congress. To say that our work is somehow deteriorating the family, I think is an outrageous statement. But worst, to say that we’re avoiding responsibility,” Gillibrand said
“I just need to know that our nominee is going to be a champion of national paid leave, affordable daycare, universal pre-K.”
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On the campaign trail, Biden has said that he supports universal pre-K, and would give an $8,000 tax credit to families needing childcare, but has not provided specifics about the parameters of such a tax credit.
Biden also pointed out on the debate stage he was a single father for five years after a car crash claimed the life of his first wife and daughter, and both his late wife and current wife worked outside the home–a fact Jill Biden pointed out on Twitter herself.
“I’m Joe Biden’s wife….full time mother and grand-mother, full time teacher, and full time campaigner. #WomenRule #TeamJoe,” Dr. Biden tweeted during the debate Wednesday.