Washington, D.C. — Today, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) reintroduced the Child Care for Working Families Act. The bill’s introduction comes in advance of the release of President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan, which reports suggest will include investments in child care. Mara Rudman, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement on the bill’s reintroduction:
Child care is an essential lifeline for working families and the U.S. economy. The American Rescue Plan recognized this truth by providing critical resources to save this bedrock industry from the brink of collapse. But the United States has never meaningfully invested in architecting a high-quality, affordable early learning system to support all families—leaving many struggling to find or afford care, punishing early educators with poverty wages, and serving just 1 in 7 subsidy-eligible children in America.
The Child Care for Working Families Act would break that precedent by making child care affordable for all families by capping the amount they spend on child care at 7 percent of their income, with the majority of eligible families paying no more than $45 per week. The bill would also invest in the child care workforce and promote early learning options for low- and middle-income families across the entirety of the early education spectrum—including infants and toddlers, whose care is often more costly and difficult to find, and preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-olds.
The pandemic is shining a light on how the broken, piecemeal nature of child care in the United States has significant consequences for working families’ employment, particularly for mothers. It is why this bill is critical to America’s economic recovery and growth by allowing at least 1.6 million parents to enter the workforce and creating at least 700,000 new jobs.
It has been 50 years since the last time the United States seriously debated building a robust early learning system. The coronavirus pandemic has underscored that families—and our economy—can’t wait another half century for meaningful action. Now is the time to build a child care system that meets families’ needs, pays early educators—most of whom are women and people of color—living wages, and supports the education and development of the nation’s youngest children.
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