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What They’re Saying: Senator Murray’s Child Care Plan in Build Back Better

Nationwide coalition of over 300 early learning and child care providers, advocates, and organizations:

“A turning point for a just and equitable child care and early learning system”


The Atlantic: “Arguably the greatest victory for American families in several generations. ... It is no exaggeration to say that this will be a life-changing benefit for many of them.”


Child Care Aware: “Transformative change for nearly every family with young children.”


First Five Years Fund: “We cannot overstate the historic nature of this proposed investment and the positive, lasting impact it will have on working families and early educators”


The Century Foundation: “A historic win for families.”


(Washington, D.C.)– Last week, former preschool teacher and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced her strong support for the largest investments in child care and pre-K in our nation’s history, which are included in the President’s Build Back Better framework. The Build Back Better child care and universal pre-K policies were modeled off of Senator Murray and Representative Bobby Scott’s Child Care for Working Families Act, and will dramatically lower child care costs for the vast majority of working families in America, dramatically increase the number of child care providers nationwide, raise child care workers’ wages, and establish universal pre-k for every family. 


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


New York Times: “The proposal for child care and universal pre-K would significantly lower the cost of raising children. Now, most parents have little government support for care until their children are old enough to enter public school at age 5. The new proposal would make support near universal, starting in infancy.”


The Atlantic: “If Democrats can get their “Build Back Better” package across the finish line, the child-care and pre-K provisions would be arguably the greatest victory for American families in several generations. ... It is no exaggeration to say that this will be a life-changing benefit for many of them.”


Huffington Post: “The deal includes the largest-ever investment in child care, through a program that would limit expenses for most families to 7% of household income and offer free access to many lower-income Americans.”


The Century Foundation: “Today is a historic win for families—the final framework of the Build Back Better Act includes game-changing investments in child care and pre-kindergarten that will give families the freedom to make a good living and have great care and early education for their children. This will be the most transformative investment in children and early education in generations.”


“Build Back Better’s provisions will lower child care costs for nine out of ten families with young children in the United States while improving the quality of the early education they receive, raising wages and covering the costs associated with higher quality care. Universal preschool for three- and four-year-olds will finally be available and parents will have the choice to find the right program for their family in center-based, home-based, family-based, pre-kindergarten, and Head Start programs.


“On day one, when these policies are implemented, families hit hardest by the pandemic’s economic crisis will begin to feel the effects with free or reduced cost child care, while the new funding will help build up the child care and early learning sector to meet families’ needs across the nation. The more than one million moms still out of the workforce will begin to return to work, and others will be able to increase their hours and earnings.”


Nationwide coalition of over 300 early learning and child care providers, advocates, and organizations: “The historic investment and policies outlined in the framework would support the transformative work of building a strong, stable early childhood education system that is affordable and accessible to families in new and critical ways.


“The policy before Congress today will lower the cost of child care and provide pre-kindergarten for millions of families while investing in the higher wages and professional development needed to ensure high quality care for all participants. Families will have a range of center-based, home-based, family child care, school-based, and Head Start options that work best for them. Families will start to feel these changes right away as the system stabilizes in ways that help all families, while those most in need receive financial assistance, and states build their supply of child care, addressing the urgent shortage of slots holding back our economic recovery.


“Fifty years after President Nixon’s veto of comprehensive child care reform, we are at the cusp of a turning point for a just and equitable child care and early learning system. This is the moment where we take the closest step yet to realizing the first ever early care and education guarantee. It’s time to set families up for success and set up early care and education to be a valued and highly desired, long-term career path - our economic prosperity depends on it. We look forward to working with you to enact and implement these policies across the United States.”


Child Care Aware: “Child Care Aware of America applauds this monumental announcement to bring about transformative change for nearly every family with young children.  


“The Build Back Better Act framework prioritizes child care and early learning alongside investments in climate and caregiving and will support our families and communities in the coming years. This demonstrates an understanding of the critical role child care and early learning play in the well-being and economic security of our families and communities. New, long-term programs to make high-quality child care affordable and accessible for millions of families and ensure universal preschool is available for all 3- and 4-year-old children, with funding provided for 6 years, will put us on the path to achieving a more equitable system of early learning. 


Institute for Women’s Policy Research: “The Build Back Better framework is an historic win for all of us. The plan President Biden outlined and its promised investments are a down payment on a fairer, more equitable economic future.”


“Access to affordable child care is a fundamental need for women in today’s workforce. It opens new doors for women to pursue careers and helps to strengthen families and improve their financial security, boosting the economy in the process. This is a vital and necessary support women need as they re-enter the workforce after a pandemic that saw women disproportionately affected by job losses ad unemployment compared to men.”


CLASP: "Today’s announcement of the framework for the Build Back Better Act sets the stage for historic investments in children, women, families, people with low incomes, and communities of color. The framework is a transformational “once-in-a generation” opportunity to invest boldly in an economic recovery that will secure a more equitable future for all.


“The future reflected in the framework announced today will guarantee affordable child care and pre-kindergarten for nearly all families with young children and livable wages for child care providers.”


National Women’s Law Center: “This framework brings our country closer to a more fair and just economy for workers and families. These historic investments in child care and home and community-based services, affordable housing, the establishment of universal pre-kindergarten, and the expanded Child Tax Credit are the product of the labor of generations of organizers, advocates, and lawmakers. 


“Over the entire life course, access to affordable child care could increase the lifetime earnings for women with two children by about $94,000, which would lead to an increase of about $20,000 in private savings (contributions plus growth) and an additional $10,000 in Social Security benefits. It would also boost the collective lifetime earnings of a cohort of 1.3 million women by $130 billion. For Black mothers in deep poverty, child care reform will result in a lifetime net increase in income of $108,000.”


Zero To Three: “Today’s announcement begins to make the promise of this administration a reality. At long last, our government is putting families and children first and making them a national priority. This framework will provide parents and caregivers with the support they need to help their children not just survive, but to thrive.”


“After years of being underfunded and unsupported, we will finally build the strong foundation that our child care system needs to evolve into a robust program for years to come. Parents who have long struggled to afford care for their children will finally be able to rely on high-quality, affordable options, and child care providers will receive the wages their critical work deserves.


“A child’s first three years are critical to their future, with brain development occurring more rapidly than at any later point in life. The Build Back Better framework at last recognizes this irrefutable fact, putting policies in place to support our infants and toddlers at this important time. This must not be a singular moment in our nation’s history, but the start of a movement that will carry on for decades on behalf of all our babies and toddlers today and in the future.”


First Five Year Fund: “The $400 billion proposal for child care and preschool constitutes an extraordinary investment in addressing an equally extraordinary crisis. President Biden and Democratic leaders have prioritized and protected early learning and care as a cornerstone of the Build Back Better Act, which is a reflection of their understanding about the essential role of early care and education for children, families, and the economy. It also underscores a commitment to investing in future generations by guaranteeing that every child who needs it—particularly those from low- and middle-income families—can access high-quality learning and developmental opportunities that are proven to set them up for success in school and throughout their lives.


“Millions of Americans rely on child care just to be able to work, but the insurmountable costs and increasingly limited supply have kept parents from entering, re-entering, or remaining in the labor force for decades. We cannot overstate the historic nature of this proposed investment and the positive, lasting impact it will have on working families—and early educators who have been forced to scrape by on low wages that don’t reflect the crucial skilled labor they provide to their communities. We call on Congress to act quickly to pass this bill so states and communities have the resources they need to begin building a strong, stable early learning system that meets the needs of families and our economy.”


Center for American Progress: “The announcement of today’s Build Back Better framework marks a new beginning for American families, our economy, and our planet. With the Build Back Better Act, President Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress are on the precipice of passing the most consequential economic legislation in 50 years. Today’s framework marks a legislative turning point in the decades-long failure of trickle-down economics and its ravages on the American people, as well as the start of a new vision: growing the economy by investing in working people, creating millions of good-paying union jobs, and protecting the planet.”


“This is the first legislative package in our nation’s history to value the central role of women, especially women of color, in the economy by linking recovery to their advancement in work—particularly that done by early childhood educators and home-care workers—that has long been devalued and robbed of its dignity and by supporting women’s labor force participation through a dramatic expansion in child care access and affordability.”