Hi, Dads – and welcome to the fray! 


February 3, 2023

A brand new caucus has emerged in the U.S. House of Representatives. Its arrival is good news, if perhaps a bit overdue. 

Last week, members announced the launch of the Congressional Dads Caucus, which will focus on pro-family issues such as an expanded Child Tax Credit, national paid family and medical leave, and more funding for child care and health care. 

As it now stands, the caucus consists of about 15 members, mostly dads, although it does include one mom – Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who helped found the Moms in the House Caucus in 2019. That group has pushed for family-friendly and maternal health-focused policies, and also serves as a support network for moms in the House to share advice and support for one another. 

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, a California Democrat who organized the Dads’ caucus, told the Washington Post that the group will hold meetings monthly at first, “and then we’ll develop hearings and working groups as well as host educational seminars for staff and for members.”  

Although the idea of a Congressional Dads Caucus had been kicked around for years, it was, oddly enough, the marathon election of a Republican House Speaker that willed it into existence. Kevin McCarthy’s (near) slugfest to the Speakership lasted 15 votes and took days; during the imbroglio, several House members were seen caring for their kids on the House floor – including Gomez, who was “wearing” his five-month-old son, Hodge. (Hodge was safely ensconced in a harness; a picture went viral.) 

According to National Public Radio, Gomez said he thinks his son’s appearance with him at his workplace “brought visibility to the role of working dads across the country.” 

“We want to show not just interest but advocacy on the issues that impact working families,” Gomez said. 

In a statement, Gomez elaborated: 

“Dads need to do our part in advancing policies that will make a difference in the lives of so many parents across the country,” he said. “We’re fighting for a national paid family and medical leave program, affordable and high-quality child care, and the expanded Child Tax Credit that cut child poverty by nearly half. This is how we set an equitable path forward for the next generation and build a brighter future for our children – including my five-month old son, Hodge.” 

Besides, added Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), it’s past time. “Historically, women legislators – especially mothers – have been the champions for paid leave, affordable child care, and other policies that support working families,” said Castro, who has three young children. “They deserve an extraordinary amount of credit, but they should also be able to count on male legislators to be partners in their fight from the beginning.” 

When the Congressional Dads Caucus was announced at a press conference just steps away from the U.S. Capitol last week, its co-founders were flanked by representatives of a number of supporting organizations, including the National Women’s Law Center, MomsRising, Paid Leave for All, the National Alliance for Caregiving, and the National Partnership for Women and Families. 

“A fired-up force of moms, joined by our allies in the new Congressional Dads Caucus, will shut down the noise, defeat the logjams, and continue the progress working families need,” said MomsRising Senior Vice President Ruth Martin. “Working together, we can make child care affordable, make paid and medical leave accessible, make wages fair, and make it possible for hardworking families in this country to make ends meet. Moms and Dads, working together, will be an unstoppable force.” 

Angel Padilla, Vice President of Strategy & Policy for the National Women’s Law Center, added that for nearly three years, “families have faced impossible situations thanks to the pandemic, inflation, job insecurity, a lack of access to child care, and more.” 

“But these challenges are not unique to the pandemic and have persisted for far too long without adequate solutions,” he said. “We look forward to working with the caucus to champion legislation around these issues that will engage fathers, help women enter the workforce, and reduce poverty among working families.” 

Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) said the primary reason he ran for Congress in the first place was because, as a dad, he “will do anything for my boys.” 

“They and other kids deserve so much better than the chaos and challenges that we face right now as a nation,” he said. “I refuse to believe that my kids and everyone’s kids and grandkids are doomed to grow up in a divided America. If we can focus on lifting up our younger generations, I think we will see the blueprint for how we heal this country.” 

child care
Expanded Child Tax Credit
Paid family leave