WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Bob Casey (D-PA), along with U.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1), Sara Jacobs (D-CA-51), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11), and Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20), in leading a bicameral group of their colleagues in urging congressional leadership to renew expired funding for child care in any supplemental funding package.
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Funding the lawmakers passed in the American Rescue Plan to allow parents to afford child care and keep their jobs during COVID expired in September, but the child care crisis continues. Without this funding, many child care providers are struggling with how they are going to continue to operate and serve families. The lawmakers’ letter comes after President Biden’s supplemental funding request to Congress included $16 billion to address the child care crisis.
“We write today to urge you to include robust funding for child care in any supplemental funding package considered by the Appropriations Committee. Child care is unaffordable and hard to find for working families, and child care providers across the country are struggling to stay afloat,” wrote the lawmakers.
“The child care workforce has been one of the slowest sectors to recover from the pandemic, and wages for this critical workforce remain unacceptably low, further fueling the shortage of available child care options for families,” the members continued. “Families and child care providers are feeling increasingly squeezed following the expiration of COVID-19 relief funding for child care, as child care providers scramble to fill the gap in resources previously filled by federal funds.”
The lawmakers wrote, “It is essential that as supplemental funding to meet emergency needs is considered, Congress take action to address the child care crisis. We have an urgent need to further stabilize an industry that has been long underfunded, and Congress must provide robust funding for this sector through a supplemental package.”
Durbin and Duckworth are also cosponsors of the Child Care for Working Families Act, legislation that would expand access to child care, raise wages for providers, and lower costs for families by ensuring no family pays more than seven percent of their income on child care, and the Child Care Stabilization Act, which would expand vital child care funding to help providers keep their doors open.
In addition to Durbin, Duckworth, Kaine, Smith, Warren, Sanders, and Casey, the Senate letter is signed by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), John Fetterman (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The letter is endorsed by All Our Kin; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy; Caring Across Generations; Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); Child Care for Every Family Network; Children’s Institute; Community Change Action; Early Care & Education Consortium (ECEC); Family Values @ Work; First Focus Campaign for Children; House Democratic Women’s Caucus; Mom Congress; Moms First; MomsRising; National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC); National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC); National Education Association (NEA); National Women’s Law Center (NWLC); Oxfam America; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Small Business Majority; YMCA USA; and ZERO TO THREE.
A copy of the Senate letter is available here.
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