U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Senate Democrats Continue Push for Affordable Child Care For Families in Minnesota, Across the Country

Senator Helps Introduce Legislation to Help Families in Minnesota, Across Nation Afford Comprehensive, High-Quality Child Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/27/19]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.)—who last year launched “Child Care Access and Affordability” listening sessions across Minnesota—is continuing her work to ensure families in Minnesota and across the country are able to access high-quality childcare by supporting a comprehensive bill to address the skyrocketing cost of child care.

The bill, called the Child Care for Working Families Act, would address child care costs in a number of ways. It would ensure that families do not have to pay a large percentage of their income onchild care and would provide universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all three- and four-year-olds. The legislation would also improve training and compensation to recruit and retain the childcare workforce in Minnesota and across the nation.

“When I travel across Minnesota, I hear from parents all over the state about the challenge of finding high-quality affordable child care. This is a barrier for families, businesses and communities,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Education Committee. “This legislation would support providers, child care workers and families and ensure that all children have access to high-quality child care.”

Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) led the introduction of the Child Care for Working Families Act. In addition to Sen. Smith, the legislation is supported by Sens. Baldwin (D-Wis.), Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Booker (D-N.J.), Brown (D-Ohio), Cantwell (D-Wash.), Cardin (D-Md.), Coons (D-Del.), Cortez Masto (D-N.V.), Duckworth (D-Ill.), Durbin (D-Ill.), Feinstein (D-Calif.), Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Harris (D-Calif.), Hassan (D-N.H.), Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Leahy (D-Vt.), Markey (D-Mass.), Menendez (D-N.J.), Merkley (D-Ore.), Murphy (D-Conn.), Peters (D-Mich.), Reed (D-R.I.), Rosen (D-N.V.), Sanders (I-Vt.), Schatz (D-Hawaii), Schumer (D-N.Y.), Udall (D-N.M.), Van Hollen (D-Md.), Warren (D-Mass.), Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Wyden (D-Ore.).

Representative Bobby Scott (D-Va.), chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Representative Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-M.P.), chair of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives with 98 cosponsors.

In October of last year, Sen. Smith introduced the Child Care Supply Improvement Act, which would provide assistance for child care facilities, support child care providers in areas related to safety and quality, help providers navigate important health and safety requirements, and support child care businesses. The bill would also support states and tribes in improving the administration of childare programs and would help determine how best to use resources in order to support communities in Minnesota and across the country. Sen. Smith kicked off her “Childcare Access and Affordability” listening sessions in 13 communities in all parts of Minnesota prior to introducing her bill to gather input from Minnesotans.