Family care remains the biggest barrier for women to find work and weighs heavily on labor market recovery, Commerce Minister Gina Raimondo told CNBC on Thursday.

“We still have millions of women who are inactive and we know that the main reason they say they are no longer employed is because they are still having trouble taking care of their children or theirs elderly relatives to take care of, “she said,” said Mad Money host Jim Cramer.

The challenge, in turn, affects the recruitment of many companies across the country. Many women who juggle childcare requirements forego job opportunities or even promotions because of commitments at home, said Raimondo, whose division is tasked with promoting U.S. economic growth.

More than a year after the coronavirus pandemic turned the economy upside down and led to massive layoffs, recent data from the Census Bureau shows that 1.5 million women are yet to return to work due to childcare restrictions. It is crucial to ensure America stays competitive, Raimondo said.

“We need to invest more in our care infrastructure so that women can fully participate in the labor market if we are to really be competitive,” she argued.

The Biden administration also plans to do more to provide home care services, paid family vacations, and public pre-K, said Raimondo, who was previously Rhode Island governor.

“This is just as important to our competitiveness as anything else,” she said.

The comments come days after Senate Democrats unveiled a $ 3.5 trillion spending plan that includes funds to expand preschool and make childcare affordable, among other things.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the multi-trillion dollar proposal will be passed through the chamber along with a bipartisan package worth $ 579 billion to cover infrastructure priorities.

Senate Democrats hope to pass the $ 3.5 trillion plan for an economic safety net on the party line through a process called reconciliation.

Moderate Democrats, who are vital to their survival, say they are reviewing the package. Members of the party’s left wing said the spending plan is necessary to support the infrastructure plan, which is backed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Republican members, who are expected to reject the $ 3.5 trillion proposal, fear the massive spending will drive inflation higher.