05.31.22

What They’re Saying: Murray-Kaine Child Care Reconciliation Plan Lowers Costs and Gets Parents Back to Work

Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: Murray-Kaine Proposal to Expand, Improve Child Care Would Benefit Families and the Economy

 

Child Care Aware: Newest Proposal Would Provide Robust Investments to Early Childhood Programs

 

Center for Law and Social Policy: Senate Child Care Proposal Could Reach 1 Million+ More Children

MomsRising:
Moms and Families Need Congress to Get This Passed

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Earlier this month, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), released details of a revamped child care and early education reconciliation proposal, which would support the child care workforce, get parents back to work, and lower costs for families. A one-pager on Senator Murray and Kaine’s revamped child care proposal can be found HERE.

 

Here’s how leading child care and early education groups have described the proposal:

 

Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: Murray-Kaine Proposal to Expand, Improve Child Care Would Benefit Families and the Economy

 

“A new proposal released by Senators Patty Murray and Tim Kaine would increase the number of families in every state who can afford child care, improve the quality of child care in every state, and establish a pilot program so that some states can test how to create a more robust system that provides a larger group of low- and middle-income children who need it with access to affordable child care. The core of the proposal — increased funding that goes to every state — would increase the number of children receiving child care assistance by more than 1 million children.”

 

Child Care Aware: Newest Proposal Would Provide Robust Investments to Early Childhood Programs

 

“For advocates tracking the progress of federal investments in child care, there is reason to be optimistic right now. After several months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) announced a new proposal that would provide multi-year funding for child care and early learning.”

 

Mario Cardona, Chief of Policy and Practice at Child Care Aware of America: “The proposal would invest deeply in our existing early learning programs and provide funding to every state, territory, and tribe in the country. We urge lawmakers to use the reconciliation process to make significant investments in child care and preschool so that we can grow an affordable, accessible, and equitable child care system that values the work of caregivers, promotes children’s healthy development, and supports working families. Without significant new, permanent investments in early care and education in this country, the challenges associated with the child care system will continue.”

 

Center for Law and Social Policy: Senate Child Care Proposal Could Reach 1 Million+ More Children

 

“For decades we have failed children, parents, and early educators by underinvesting in child care,” said Hannah Matthews, deputy executive director for policy at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). “The proposed investment would be a crucial step toward building the child care and early education system that children, families, and workers need and deserve. To address the country’s longstanding child care crisis, Congress must work urgently to lower costs for families, expand the supply of quality child care and preschool, and raise wages for the early childhood workforce. The Senate should act swiftly on this proposal to provide immediate help to families and benefit the economy by shoring up the child care sector that is essential to all other work.”

 

“As child care costs rise and providers continue to leave the sector due to inadequate wages, our nation urgently needs investments in child care and preschool. The Senate should move swiftly to include this legislative proposal in an economic package.”

 

The Century Foundation: TCF Director of Women’s Economic Justice Julie Kashen Hails Senate Democrats’ Updated Child Care and Preschool Proposal

 

“How we care for our children is one of the most fundamental aspects of our society. At a time when parents feel more alone than ever, this new proposal makes clear that there are parents, and grandparents, in Congress who have their backs. The revamped proposal fits into the current reconciliation framework, ensuring that states quickly receive funding to lower costs for families, build out the supply of child care and pre-K, and raise compensation for early educators. It will put the U.S. on the path toward the comprehensive child care and early learning system we need,” said Julie Kashen, Director of Women’s Economic Justice at the Century Foundation.

 

“The status quo is unacceptable. If Congress does nothing, families will continue to experience high and rising child care prices, resulting in even more unaffordable child care. Early educators will continue to be poorly paid and leave the sector, causing more staffing shortages. As a result, more providers will be forced to close down. Families will continue to struggle with this collective crisis, as  parents—especially mothers— are pushed out of the labor market, sacrificing much-needed income and reducing the supply of valued workers for employers.

 

“Even before the pandemic, we were failing families and children, but the situation now is more dire than ever. Families cannot wait another day.”

 

First Five Years Fund: Revamped Proposal Positions Child Care for Inclusion in Reconciliation

 

“As negotiations on a budget reconciliation bill evolve on Capitol Hill, HELP Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (WA) and Senator Tim Kaine (VA) have unveiled a streamlined child care proposal that fits within the parameters of the narrower reconciliation package currently under consideration from what was originally introduced as part of the Build Back Better Act. This is a clear signal that Democratic leaders remain confident child care can and must be included in reconciliation.”

 

“A huge portion of the nation’s labor force relies on child care just to be able to go to work each day, yet most families can’t afford or even find the care they need,” said Sarah Rittling, Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund. “Thankfully, there is a clear understanding among lawmakers that the success of our economy is inextricably linked with the success of our early learning sector. The only question is whether Congress can secure the level of sustained investment required to begin addressing this crisis. We are grateful to Sen. Murray and Sen. Kaine for their leadership in taking definitive action to ensure child care is included in the budget reconciliation package, and we call on all Senate Democrats to unite behind this crucial, commonsense economic policy proposal.”

 

MomsRising: Moms Leader Lauds New Plan to Boost Country’s Child Care System: ‘Moms and Families Need Congress to Get This Passed’

 

“Our country’s child care system is on the verge of collapse and families are struggling mightily as a result. The status quo – with moms being forced out of the labor force, families unable to make ends meet, young children missing out on crucial early learning opportunities, and care workers leaving the field because of poverty-level wages– is taking a terrible toll on families, businesses, and our economy. That’s why we are so pleased that U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) have developed a new child care plan that will stabilize and strengthen our country’s child care system. America’s moms strongly support their plan.”

 

“It includes badly needed investments in the Child Care and Development Block Grant program, which would lower family costs by quickly getting funds to states and territories that would be used to expand the supply of quality child care facilities and raise wages for the early learning workforce. It would reduce child care deserts, establish a pilot program for states to expand child care assistance to middle-income families, and expand access to high-quality pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds. This is a plan America needs.”

 

“To date, the U.S. Senate has dropped the proverbial ball, allowing our child care system to buckle, harming families and exacerbating our labor shortage. The time to strengthen our child care system and build a care infrastructure is now. Moms and families need Congress to pass the Murray/Kaine child care plan through reconciliation. It will help put families and our country on the road to a sustainable recovery. Moms will speak out, organize, and press for passage of this plan in every way we can.”

 

New America: Democrats Propose Historic Child Care Investment Through Reconciliation

 

“It’s been more than two years since child care program closures shined a spotlight on our nation’s fragile child care system. And while other aspects of the economy have shown signs of recovery, the child care sector continues to be in crisis. Families cannot find and afford reliable care, providers are closing their doors, and long-time early educators are leaving the field because of unlivable wages. This is a classic example of a market failure— this crisis is not going to solve itself and requires government intervention.

 

“While the Biden administration’s Build Back Better plan, which laid out an ambitious early education agenda, has been stalled since December, there is still a chance to save the child care sector through budget reconciliation. Senators Patty Murray (WA), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, and Tim Kaine (VA) recently put forward a new child care proposal that could be passed within the reconciliation process.”

 

“Child care is an essential industry that is needed to keep the economy functioning. States have been relying on COVID relief dollars to keep the industry afloat, but that funding will soon run out. Recent polling by the First Five Action Fund confirms that voters in battleground states want Congress to take action to make child care more accessible. While this proposal is scaled back from Build Back Better, it is still a historic investment in a field that is in crisis.”

 

AFSCME: Murray and Kaine Child Care Plan Expands Access and Lowers Cost for Families

 

“We depend on our critical child care infrastructure to keep America working, but COVID-19 has pushed early learning to the brink. Countless child care providers have been forced to close their doors. Costs for families are skyrocketing, and wages for child care providers remain inadequate to sustain high quality care. As America gets back to work, we cannot leave children and working parents behind — it is absolutely vital that the Senate include bold, robust investment in child care within the budget reconciliation package,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders.

 

ZERO TO THREE:

 

“We are deeply grateful to see Sen. Murray and Sen. Kaine’s revised child care proposal, and for their steadfast leadership in ensuring a budget reconciliation package includes critically needed investments to increase access to high-quality, affordable child care for families nationwide,” stated ZERO TO THREE Chief Policy Officer Miriam Calderón.

 

“A child’s brain develops more in their first three years than at any other point in life, so it’s absolutely critical to support increased access to the type of high-quality care they and their families need to thrive. We are proud to support this revised plan, which would provide much needed sustained and long-term investments to support a stronger child care system for infants and toddlers, their families, and the early educators that support them, and we call on our elected officials to take swift action to ensure that it is part of any reconciliation package moving forward.”

 

National Women’s Law Center:

 

“The COVID pandemic pressure-tested a child care system already in crisis, causing devastating results across the country for providers and families alike. Spikes in operating costs forced many child care providers to close or scale down, while the lack of affordable, high-quality child care pushed hundreds of thousands of women out of the workforce. We applaud Senator Murray for her bold and persistent leadership to secure fair pay and good working conditions for providers – who are disproportionally Black, brown, and immigrant women – and meaningful reform for families who depend on them. Senator Murray’s proposal keeps funding within the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant program serving all states, while still advancing innovation and transformation of the child care field. Parents and our economy need action now - Congress must fix what’s not working in our child care system,” said Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center.

 

Center for American Progress:

 

“Our child care system is hanging by a thread, with even longer waitlists in most areas, hiring and retention challenges for child care businesses, and prices that are out of reach for ever more families. These investments through CCDBG will reach families in every community—and providing ongoing funding will stabilize a crucial component of our economy while giving states the flexibility they need to solve the child care crisis,” said Rasheed Malik, Director of Early Childhood Policy at CAP.

  

Community Change Action:

 

“Our May 9 ‘Day Without Child Care’ action proved the strength of our child care movement and the urgency of investing in our child care system. Parents, child care providers and early learning educators are united for equitable access to affordable child care and better pay and working conditions for the child care sector. Senators Murray and Kaine’s new plan will provide crucial investments we need to lower child care costs for families and retain and attract the child care providers who drive our economy and nurture our youngest children. We will keep fighting for a child care system that works for all of us and values this workforce led by women of color,” said Dorian Warren, Co-President of Community Change Action.

 

Main Street Alliance:

 

“Businesses owned by Black and Latinx Americans are more often owned by women, who are already primary caregivers - without meaningful investment in childcare, we are putting children, families, and the economic health of our communities at risk,” said Chanda Causer, Executive Director of Main Street Alliance. “The lack of child care can be a barrier to starting or expanding a business. Public investment in child care would mean greater stability for small businesses and their employees.”

 

American Federation of Teachers:

 

“This proposal solves real problems for families, particularly families with young children. Well before the pandemic, families struggled to find available and affordable child care and pre-K programs. And often the existing programs had huge turnover because of low wages. The pandemic has only made things worse, with families desperate to get their children into high-quality programs that often come at a cost above what many can afford. And the workers—child care providers and pre-K and Head Start educators, the people who help make it possible for families to go to work—need a raise. That’s why it’s vital for a reconciliation package to include funding for child care and early learning, including funding to strengthen the early learning workforce by paying a living wage. It is time to help families get back to work by ensuring children have safe and nurturing programs to attend, and it’s time to make sure early learning educators have a future they can rely on,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers.

 

AFL-CIO:

 

“The security of working families depends on the strength of our nation’s child care system,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “The pandemic only worsened dilemmas that workers and their families had already been facing for many years: few options for quality care, skyrocketing costs, a severely underpaid workforce with few benefits and inconsistent access to preschool programs. Working parents, grandparents, child care providers and early childhood educators have needed a life line for a very long time and we cannot continue to wait for critical and overdue investment. The Senate must do its part to stand with working families and include this proposal in reconciliation.”

 

All Our Kin:

 

“State budget negotiations have laid the facts bare: states need additional resources to sustain our child care system in the immediate future and long-term. Family child care providers are educators and small business owners who need greater financial predictability in order to sustain high-quality care. Parents need affordable care to return to the workforce.  The proposal developed by Senators Murray and Kaine offers  a lifeline for both. All Our Kin welcomes the proposal and urges the rest of the Senate to adopt it and pass a reconciliation bill at the earliest possible date,” said Jessica Sager, Co-Founder and CEO, All Our Kin.

 

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