Sen. Marsha Blackburn: Taking care of our elders is a waste of taxpayer dollars


She's also voted to strip health care from Americans with preexisting conditions and deny parental leave to federal employees.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Wednesday criticized President Joe Biden's $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan — specifically because it includes funding for caretaking of the elderly.

"President Biden’s proposal is about anything but infrastructure," she tweeted, alongside an image superimposed with large text reading, "400 BILLION TOWARDS ELDER CARE."

Biden's plan proposes to allot approximately $400 billion, disbursed over an eight-year time period, toward care for the elderly and those with disabilities. The funding is specifically intended to bolster "home- or community- based care" for these groups, and would extend Money Follows the Person, a Medicaid program which aims to move elderly nursing home residents back into home-based care.

Studies have repeatedly found that the economic toll home-based caregiving has on caretakers can be steep, forcing them to tap into savings and retirement funds for out-of-pocket expenses. National data shows that one-third of caregivers report being under financial strain, and caregivers are at increased risk of poverty and reliance on public assistance, as well as low income later in life and reduced participation in the work force.

"We're trapped in a caregiving crisis within an economic crisis within a health care crisis," Biden said on the campaign trail.

"You're doing everything you can, but this president is not," he added, referring to Donald Trump. Biden has made it a priority of his administration to expand what he calls the "caregiving economy."

Blackburn already had a questionable record on protecting vulnerable Americans in need before Wednesday's comments.

She has long sought to overturn the Affordable Care Act and has repeatedly voted to strip health care protections for Americans with preexisting conditions. And while still in the House of Representatives, she voted for 2018's controversial farm bill, which imposed rigid work requirements on close to 7 million food stamp recipients and limited eligibility for nutritional assistance programs for families in need.

She has also voted "no" on expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program and on legislation providing four weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees.

In several other posts on Wednesday, Blackburn expressed opposition to the American Jobs Plan for providing funding for green transportation and climate change studies, referring to them as a "liberal agenda."

Those remarks may not find an overwhelmingly sympathetic audience: A new study by Data for Progress, teamed with pro-infrastructure organization Invest in America, found that 73% of likely American voters support Biden's infrastructure plan — including more than half of Republicans.

Blackburn has come under fire in the past for other controversial remarks, including a xenophobic push for immigrants to submit to DNA tests, use of racist hate speech against Asian Americans during the coronavirus epidemic, and her decision to attack Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a former member of the White House National Security Council, for testifying against Trump in his first impeachment trial.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.