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NEWS: Murray, Sanders, Clark, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Extend Vital Child Care Funding and Save Millions of Families’ Child Care Spots as Funding Cliff Looms

If pandemic-era child care stabilization funds are allowed to expire on September 30, approximately 3.2 million children could lose their child care spots, 232,000 child care workers’ jobs could be jeopardized, millions of parents could lose an estimated $9 billion each year in earnings, and states could lose approximately $10.6 billion in economic activity per year.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 – Today, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, along with 33 fellow Senators, and 78 colleagues in the House of Representatives, introduced the Child Care Stabilization Act to extend vital federal child care stabilization funding – which is set to expire at the end of this month – and ensure that child care providers can keep their doors open and continue serving children and families in every part of the country.

The companion legislation was introduced in the House today by House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), and Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (D-N.Y.)

When the pandemic pushed the already-fragile child care sector to the brink of collapse, Democrats in Congress responded by delivering historic federal investments to save the sector and prevent families from losing their child care spots – including $24 billion in child care stabilization funding. 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 child care 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 child care providers continue to receive a stable and reliable source of funding to help them deliver high-quality and affordable child care for working families across the country.

“There was a child care crisis even before the pandemic – and failing to extend these critical investments from the American Rescue Plan will push child care even further out of reach for millions of families and jeopardize our strong economic recovery,” said Sen. Murray. “This is an urgent economic priority at every level: child care is what allows parents to go to work, businesses to hire workers, and it’s an investment in our kids’ futures. The child care industry holds up every sector of our economy – and Congress must act now.”

“We have a child care crisis in America that we have got to address. If Congress does not act soon, over 3 million kids are in danger of losing their child care slots, over 230,000 child care workers could lose their jobs, and child care facilities all over our country could be forced to close their doors,” said Sen. Sanders. “That would be unacceptable. In the richest country in the history of the world, we can and we must make sure that every kid in America has access to high quality, affordable child care. If we can afford to spend over $1 trillion on tax breaks for the top one percent and large corporations making record-breaking profits, we can afford to provide working class families with the child care they desperately need. This legislation is needed now more than ever.”

“America’s families are facing a child care crisis – and is imperative that we step up to stop it. Ensuring access to affordable and accessible child care is essential; as our economy strengthens under President Biden, we need to continue to ensure all Americans – especially women – can access the workforce, a critical aspect of which is reliable access to dependable child care,” said Leader Schumer. “The Child Care Stabilization Act will avert the nightmare scenario too many American families stay up at night worrying about by providing mandatory funding to support high-quality childcare. As Majority Leader, I will always fight for America’s children and families.”

Unless action is taken to extend funding for the child care sector, families, providers, and the entire U.S. economy will feel the consequences – with fewer families able to find and afford the child care they need to go to work and thrive. A report released by Sanders and Murray in May details how, when stabilization funding expires at the end of the month, child care programs may have to serve fewer children or be forced to raise tuition for families or cut wages for child care workers, who are already paid poverty-level wages.

A separate analysis from The Century Foundation finds that if Congress does not provide additional funding for the nation’s child care sector, more than 70,000 child care programs – one-third of those supported by stabilization funding – could close, causing approximately 3.2 million children to lose their child care spots and jeopardizing jobs for 232,000 child care workers. The loss in tax and business revenue could cost states $10.6 billion in economic activity per year. Additionally, millions of parents will likely leave the workforce or reduce their hours, which could cost families an estimated $9 billion each year in lost earnings.

“Too many families are struggling to find reliable, affordable child care or preschool and feel like they’re on their own. The child care crisis predated the pandemic, but the funding provided in the American Rescue Plan kept centers afloat during their darkest hours,” said Sen. Casey. “Without new investments, parents will have a harder time finding care, which in turn impacts businesses and local economies. It’s time for the government to step up and set up our kids and families for success by making a meaningful investment in child care and the child care workforce.”

“The lack of affordable child care in America is holding our families, workers, and economy back,” said Sen. Kaine. “Parents are locked out of the workforce because they can’t find care for their kids. Workers who are passionate about child care are being squeezed out of their field because they can’t pay their bills. If we let critical child care stabilization funding expire, things are only going to get worse. Millions of families who will otherwise lose their child care are depending on Congress passing this legislation to extend these urgently-needed funds.”

“Across the country, affordable child care is out of reach for too many families, stopping parents from getting back to work, hurting our economy, and preventing kids from getting the strong start they deserve,” said Sen. Baldwin. “I was proud to help address this crisis and expand access to child care with the American Rescue Plan, delivering long-overdue relief for providers and middle-class families. But now, that progress is on the line. We must pass this legislation to lower costs for working families, help Wisconsin businesses meet the demand for workers, and grow our economy.”

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, Smith, 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.
Read House co-leads and co-sponsors statements of support, HERE.
Read organizational statements of support, HERE.
Watch live remarks from the press conference, HERE.