President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced what some are calling a largely symbolic executive order aimed at increasing access to child care and to long-term care for older adults and those with disabilities.

While the order contains more than 50 directives to improve access and better working conditions for caregivers, “the directives would be funded out of existing commitments,” the White House said, per The Associated Press. “That likely means their impact would be limited and they’d carry more of a symbolic weight about what’s possible. The Democratic president was far more ambitious in 2021 by calling to provide more than $425 billion to expand child care, improve its affordability and boost wages for caregivers.”

The White House couched the executive order as “the most comprehensive set of executive actions any president has ever taken to improve care for hardworking families while supporting care workers and family caregivers.”

The White House announcement said the cost of child care has risen 26% in the past decade and more than doubled over 30 years. Cost of care for those who are elderly or who have disabilities has risen 40% in the past decade.

It noted that as a consequence, “many Americans — particularly women — stay out of the workforce to care for their families, making it hard for businesses to attract and retain a skilled workforce and for the economy to grow. A BCG brief forecasts losses of $290 billion each year in gross domestic product in 2030 and beyond if the U.S. fails to address the lack of affordable child care.”

In a call with reporters Monday, White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice said that the “child care and long-term care systems in this country just don’t work well. High-quality care is costly to deliver, it’s labor intensive. It requires skilled workers.”

She noted that most care workers are women, women of color and immigrants, who are “among the lowest paid in the country, despite working in some of the most important and complex and demanding jobs.”

Among the order’s highlights:

  • Making child care and long-term care more readily available and inexpensive for families — including those with a parent in the military.
  • Making it easier for veterans to receive home-based care.
  • Increasing the wages of Head Start teachers and staff and other providers who receive certain block grant funding.
  • Making improvements in job quality for those working in the long-term care industry.
  • Supporting family caregivers more with services like respite care.
  • Streamlining the process for building child care facilities to serve Native American and Alaska Native children.

Although the executive order doesn’t come with new funding, the president’s 2024 budget plan proposes more than $600 billion over 10 years “to expand access to high-quality, affordable child care and free, high-quality preschool,” per the White House. That would increase options for 16 million young children, the administration said.

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The budget proposal also includes $150 billion over the next decade to make Medicaid home services better and more available to seniors and people with disabilities.

Per CNN, however, an administration official “acknowledged that any additional funding for long-term care and child care programs would face steep headwinds in a divided Congress, noting that while the president included “a robust, holistic care agenda” in his proposed budget, it faces challenges so long as Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives.