(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS), released the following statement on the White House’s newly released budget, which includes historic investments in child care.
“I hear from working parents across Washington state and the country about the challenges they face when it comes to finding quality, affordable child care—and for so many women, it’s why they’ve been forced to quit their jobs, struggled to support their families, or struggled to grow their careers. Businesses are re-opening, people are getting vaccinated, cases are going down and things are starting to look up but yet, of the 4.2 million women who dropped out of the labor force because of COVID, nearly 2 million have yet to return. That is a major problem for children, families, and our economy.
“It’s clear that we need a massive, historic investment in child care—and that’s exactly what the President’s budget proposal does. But we can’t stop there—we need to reform our child care system and finally establish a child care infrastructure in this country, and that means passing my Child Care for Working Families Act. If we are going to rebuild from this crisis stronger, and fairer—if we are going to build an economy that truly works for everyone—we need to ensure access to high-quality, affordable child care for every family who needs it and improve wages for child care workers. That’s exactly what my bill would do, and I’m working hard to get it across the finish line.”
In the budget proposal, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris proposed mandatory funding of $250 billion over 10 years for child care to cover an additional 3 million children and $200 billion over 10 years for universal pre-k for approximately 5 million children. The proposal also includes an increase of $1.5 billion over FY21 for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and an increase of $1.2 billion for Head Start. The budget also requests an increase for Preschool Development Grants from $275 million in FY21 to $450 million in FY22.
Senator Murray, a former preschool teacher, has led the fight for child care reform since she first was elected to the Senate. Senator Murray recently reintroduced her Child Care for Working Families Act with Representative Bobby Scott, Chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, which would finally establish a child care infrastructure, ensure access to high-quality, affordable child care for working families and improve wages for child care workers. Senator Murray was also 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.