Senators Say Their Plan to Stabilize the Child Care System, Keep Providers in Business, Support Working Parents Is Critical Part of Nation’s Response to Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. [08/5/20]—This week U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led a large number of their Senate colleagues in calling on Senate leadership to prioritize the inclusion of their plan for a $50 billion child care bailout in the next coronavirus relief package. The Child Care is Essential Act would stabilize the child care system, keep providers in business, and ensure parents are able to go back to work when it is safe to return. It was recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Sen. Smith and Warren say that families in America already faced a serious child care crisis before the coronavirus pandemic. And now, the virus is causing more problems for childcare providers and working families. The Senators warn that the U.S. will not be able to rebuild its economy if its child care system has collapsed beneath the economic burden of COVID-19. 

“As we continue to navigate the devastating impacts of the pandemic, the National Association for the Education of Young Children estimates that 40% of child care providers expect they will close permanently without additional assistance,” wrote the Senators. “This would be devastating for children, families, child care providers, and businesses. Unfortunately, the CARES Act did not provide enough funds to stabilize the industry and the Paycheck Protection Program provided short-term relief to less than 6 percent of all child care providers. Child care is too essential to fail. The upcoming stimulus must invest in child care so that we can stabilize and secure American families and our economy.”

Sen. Patty Murry (D-Wash.) first announced the Child Care is Essential Act on May 27. Sens. Smith and Warren published a Medium post announcing their plan for a $50 billion child care bailout on April 15. Following their Medium post, an analysis estimated that at least $9.6 billion is needed each month to preserve the nation’s child care system during the coronavirus. They sent a letter on March 21 to Senate leadership and again on April 28, calling on them to include the Child Care is Essential Act in coronavirus relief packages. The need for at least $50 billion in child care funding was also echoed by a broad coalition of childcare advocates nationwide, you can access the full list hereSens. Murray, Smith and Warren introduced the Senate bill on June 3.

You can read the letter here or below.

 

August 5, 2020

 

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

U.S. Senate

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Speaker

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Chuck Schumer

Minority Leader

U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy

Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, and Leader McCarthy,

We write today to urge you to prioritize the inclusion of the Child Care is Essential Act in the next Coronavirus supplemental package. In order for our economy to recover, and for working families to return to work, the next supplemental package must include at least $50 billion in immediate child care stabilization funds and long-term investments to ensure access to quality, affordable child care for workers. 

As we continue to navigate the devastating impacts of the pandemic, the National Association for the Education of Young Children estimates that 40% of child care providers expect they will close permanently without additional assistance.[1] This would be devastating for children, families, child care providers, and businesses. Unfortunately, the CARES Act did not provide enough funds to stabilize the industry and the Paycheck Protection Program provided short-term relief to less than 6 percent of all child care providers.[2] Child care is too essential to fail. The upcoming stimulus must invest in child care so that we can stabilize and secure American families and our economy.  

The House passed the Child Care is Essential Act (H.R. 7027) in a bipartisan manner. This was a monumental first step. Including this bill as part of the upcoming stimulus package must be a top priority so that we can begin the hard work of rebuilding and revitalizing our future.

Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to supporting your efforts to provide for the future of America’s children, economy, and early education and child care programs.

Sincerely,


[1]https://www.naeyc.org/sites/default/files/globally-shared/downloads/PDFs/our-work/public-policy-advocacy/holding_on_until_help_comes.survey_analysis_july_2020.pdf

[2]https://bipartisanpolicy.org/blog/child-care-essential-to-economic-recovery-received-just-2-3-billion-in-ppp-funds/

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