Murray, Scott Praise Biden’s Child Care Plan, Modeled After Child Care for Working Families Act
American Families Plan modeled after Chair Murray and Scott’s Child Care for Working Families Act, which the members re-introduced last week
Child care plan would ensure high-quality, affordable child care for working families
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-03), Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, released the following statements on President Biden’s American Families Plan, which would establish a national child care program, modeled after Senator Murray and Congressman Scott’s Child Care for Working Families Act, which they re-introduced last week to ensure working families can find and afford high-quality child care.
“Child care is a critical part of our infrastructure, and it’s absolutely essential to ensuring that working parents can succeed in our economy. You need the basics to be able to do your job, and the basics include bridges, roads and broadband—and they absolutely include child care. Ask any mom—a road won't do you any good if you can’t find safe, child care for your kid,” said Senator Murray. “I’m so glad that President Biden recognizes just how critical this is for working families and included a child care program modeled after our bill in his American Families Plan. Right now, too many parents, and in particular, moms, have had to quit their jobs because they can’t find or afford child care—and for women of color, this challenge can be even more difficult. That not only makes it incredibly hard for women to provide for their families, or grow their careers—but it hurts our economy. Chairman Scott and I, and so many other advocates and parents, have been working on this for years, and I’m thrilled that with the President’s support we can finally put quality, affordable child care in reach for every family.”
“Expanding access to high-quality child care and preschool is one of the best investments we can make to support families and grow the economy. These experiences offer children invaluable early learning opportunities that set them on a path to success and create more jobs and stronger communities. Yet, even before the pandemic, exorbitant costs and limited capacity prevented many families from getting the quality care and education they need,” said Chairman Scott. “President Biden’s proposal makes a significant down payment toward providing safe, affordable, and high-quality child care for working families across the country. In addition, the proposal would make free preschool available to all 3- and 4-year-olds. This plan, which is modeled on the Child Care for Working Families Act, sets the foundation for a strong, shared, and equitable economic recovery. I look forward to working with my colleagues to secure these critical investments in America’s future.”
The American Families Plan invests $225 billion in child care and, like the Child Care for Working Families Act, creates a federal-state partnership to provide financial assistance for working families to ensure:
- No working family under 150 percent of state median income would pay more than seven percent of their income on child care, and families struggling the most would not pay anything at all.
- Increase wages for the early childhood workforce and ensure that those with similar qualifications as kindergarten teachers receive comparable compensation and benefits.
The American Families plan also includes $200 billion for key provisions from the Child Care for Working Families Act, to expand access to preschool for all 3- and 4-year olds, by providing funding to states to establish and expand a mixed-delivery system of high-quality preschool programs.
Senator Murray, a former preschool teacher, has led the fight for child care reform since she first came into the Senate. Throughout the pandemic, Senator Murray has stressed the importance of child care relief and in June 2020, she introduced the Child Care is Essential Act, to help keep child care providers in business and save the child care sector. She was instrumental in securing $40 billion for child care as part of the American Rescue Plan, $3.5 billion in the CARES Act, $10 billion in the COVID relief package passed in December, and $5.91 billion in the FY21 spending bill. Before the pandemic, Senator Murray also secured crucial funding increases in the 2019 and 2020 Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations bills for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start. In 2017, Senator Murray and Representative Scott first introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act.
As Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, Congressman Scott has been a tireless advocate for expanding access to the affordable child care and early learning opportunities. Over the past year, the Committee advanced the Child Care is Essential Act—which passed the House—and Chairman Scott ensured that critical provisions and funding in that legislation were included in the American Rescue Plan. In 2015, Chairman Scott helped secure the inclusion of the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five program in the Every Students Succeeds Act, which provides states with significant funding to support comprehensive early childhood programs.
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