U.S. Senator Tina Smith Takes Action to Address the Childcare Funding Cliff

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to a fast approaching deadline for childcare funding, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) joined 33 fellow Senators and 78 colleagues in the House of Representatives led by Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in introducing the Child Care Stabilization Act this month. The crucial legislation aims to extend vital federal childcare stabilization funding – which is set to expire September 30th – and ensure that childcare providers can keep their doors open and continue serving children and families in every part of the country.

Senator Smith also spoke about the urgent need to for greater childcare investments at a Senate hearing this week. Watch her full remarks and questions here.

“Last month, I was visiting childcare providers in rural and small town Minnesota, and they shared with me the enormous impact the shortage of affordable childcare is having on families and local businesses. Everything that I have learned from talking to families and providers and local businesses in Minnesota is that this market for childcare is broken,” said Senator Smith. “When the pandemic hit, we acted to provide the childcare sector with relief funds, which was designed to save and stabilize the sector, increase compensation for workers, and make childcare more affordable and accessible for parents, all of which it did very successfully. But now we face the expiration of these Child Care Stabilization Grants. We must now extend this critical grant program, which is essential to keep families, providers and our economy afloat.”

When the pandemic pushed the already-fragile childcare sector to the brink of collapse, Senators Smith and Warren led the successful push for $50 billion for childcare in COVID-19 relief, including $40 billion in the American Rescue Plan which created the Child Care Stabilization Grant Program. These historic federal investments saved and stabilized the childcare sector and prevented more families from losing their childcare. The funding has made an enormous difference for families across the country – keeping 220,000 child care providers afloat over the last few years and saving childcare slots for up to 10 million kids nationwide. However, this stabilization funding is set to run out on September 30, 2023, threatening to once again push the sector to the brink, with dire consequences for families and our nation’s economy.

The Child Care Stabilization Act would prevent a potential crisis when funding expires at the end of the month by providing $16 billion in mandatory funding each year for the next five years to continue the successful Child Care Stabilization Grant program. This investment would ensure childcare providers continue to receive a stable and reliable source of funding to help them deliver high-quality and affordable childcare for working families across the country.

35 Senators are original cosponsors of the legislation, including: Sens. Murray, Sanders, Schumer, Baldwin, Blumenthal, Booker, Brown, Cardin, Casey, Cortez Masto, Duckworth, Durbin, Fetterman, Gillibrand, Heinrich, Hirono, Kaine, King, Klobuchar, Luján, Markey, Menendez, Merkley, Murphy, Padilla, Reed, Shaheen, Stabenow, Van Hollen, Warnock, Warren, Welch, Whitehouse, and Wyden.

78 Representatives are original cosponsors of the legislation, including: Reps. Katherine Clark, Rosa DeLauro, Bobby Scott, Suzanne Bonamici, Jamaal Bowman, Jimmy Gomez, Sara Jacobs, Mikie Sherrill, Alma Adams, Becca Balint, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Shontel Brown, Julia Brownley, Nikki Budzinski, Cori Bush, Yadira Caraveo, Salud Carbajal, Troy Carter, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Yvette Clarke, Gerald Connolly, Angie Craig, Jasmine Crockett, Henry Cuellar, Danny Davis, Donald Davis, Veronica Escobar, Lois Frankel, Josh Gottheimer, Raúl Grijalva, Jahana Hayes, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Sheila Jackson Lee, Pramila Jayapal, Andy Kim, Annie Kuster, Greg Landsman, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Stephen Lynch, Seth Magaziner, Kathy Manning, Lucy McBath, Jennifer McClellan, Betty McCollum, Morgan McGarvey, Rob Menendez, Gwen Moore, Jared Moskowitz, Kevin Mullin, Jerrold Nadler, Richard Neal, Donald Norcross, Scott Peters, Brittany Pettersen, Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Katie Porter, Ayanna Pressley, Jamie Raskin, Deborah Ross, Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Andrea Salinas, John Sarbanes, Mary Gay Scanlon, Jan Schakowsky, Adam Schiff, Terri Sewell, Mark Takano, Rashida Tlaib, Jill Tokuda, Paul Tonko, Lori Trahan, David Trone, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Jennifer Wexton, Susan Wild, and Nikema Williams.

The Child Care Stabilization Act is endorsed by: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), ZERO TO THREE, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Children’s Defense Fund, Save the Children, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Association for Family Child Care, Child Care for Every Family Network, Family Values at Work, Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, MomsRising/MamasConPoder, Oxfam America, All Our Kin, Community Change Action, Prevent Child Abuse America, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, Small Business Majority, First Focus Campaign for Children, Parents Together Action, Prevent Child Abuse America, United Parent Leaders Action Network (UPLAN), YWCA-USA.

Read the legislative one-pager, HERE.
Read the legislative text, HERE.

Throughout her time in the Senate, Senator Smith has led efforts to expand access to childcare. In addition to leading the push to stabilize the childcare sector, this year she has introduced bipartisan legislation to bring more childcare to more agricultural and rural communities. She has also supports a host of bills to reform our childcare system, including the Child Care for Working Families Act and the Child Care for Every Community Act. One of the first bills she authored in the Senate was the Child Care Supply Improvement Act, that would fund childcare facilities and help childcare providers navigate important health and safety requirements, in addition to supporting the creation of childcare businesses.