Skip to content

Murray, Casey, Scott, Polis Introduce Comprehensive Child Care and Early Learning Bill to Ensure Families Have Access to Affordable, High-Quality Child Care

The Child Care for Working Families Act will ensure parents aren’t forced to pay more than they can afford for child care and improve access to high-quality preschool for low- and middle-income children


Legislation is a part of Democrats’ A Better Deal agenda to build an economy that works for all, not just those at the top


(Washington, D.C.) –Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and Bob Casey (D-PA), and Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act today, a comprehensive early learning and child care bill to ensure affordable, high-quality child care for working families across the country.


“At a time when far too many working families are struggling, finding quality child care that doesn’t break the bank shouldn’t be another thing keeping parents up at night,” said Senator Murray. “As a former preschool teacher, I know what quality early learning and care can do for a child’s development, so I’m proud to introduce the Child Care for Working Families Act to address our child care crisis and support access to high-quality preschool so that all children are ready for kindergarten and beyond. This is not only the right to thing to for working families, but it’s a smart investment in our children, our future, and our economy.”


“American families shouldn’t have to break the bank, sacrifice their careers or forgo saving for the future so their kid can have access to high-equality learning and care that will put them on a path to success later in life,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “Instead of helping the one percent in this country with a new child care tax cut, Democrats are offering a better deal for American families to address the high cost of child care.”


The Child Care for Working Families Act would create a federal-state partnership to ensure families making less than 150 percent of their state’s median income do not pay more than seven percent of their income on child care. The bill also supports access to high-quality preschool programs for low- and moderate-income 3- and 4-year olds. Finally, the bill would support our nation’s child care workforce by significantly improving wages and training for teachers and caregivers.


Affordable, high-quality child care is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity,” said Senator Casey. “Unfortunately, many working families have been priced out of these services that we know help children excel. This legislation works to level the playing field so that all children can begin on the right foot, regardless of income.”


“Decades of research shows that properly nurturing children in the early years of life is instrumental in supporting enhanced brain development, cognitive functioning, and emotional and physical health,” said Representative Scott. “Today, the cost of child care has skyrocketed and too many parents now have to choose between paying for child care or a good-paying job. This bill fixes this national crisis and lays out the path of what early learning in America should look like.”


The Child Care for Working Families Act is a part of the Democrats’ economic agenda to offer working families A Better Deal. Affordable child care is just one of many proposals Democrats put forth to build an economy that works for all, not just those at the top.


“This legislation is about children learning and parents earning, with a bold solution to close the gap in access to affordable, quality child care and early education,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  “Democrats are fighting to give working mothers and fathers A Better Deal in the 21st century economy – one that puts children on the path to success tomorrow and parents on a path to bigger paychecks today.”


“Education, from early childhood through college, is the single best investment we can make in our future. Sadly, many parents are priced-out of high-quality preschool and child care,” said Congressman Polis. “No child should be denied a good start just because of their family's economic circumstances, and no parent should have to be faced with the burden of not being able to afford the very best for their kids. The Child Care for Working Families Act will finally give families access to high-quality child care and preschool.”


In addition to Senators Murray and Casey, other cosponsors in the Senate include Senators Hirono (D-HI), Franken (D-MN), Schumer (D-NY), Leahy (D-VT), Feinstein (D-CA), Wyden (D-OR), Durbin (D-IL), Menendez (D-NJ), Klobuchar (D-MN), Merkley (D-OR), Gillibrand (D-NY), Blumenthal (D-CT), Baldwin (D-WI), Murphy (D-CT), Heinrich (D-NM), Warren (D-MA), Markey (D-MA), Booker (D-NJ), Van Hollen (D-MD), Duckworth (D-IL), Hassan (D-NH), Harris (D-CA), Reed (D-RI), Udall (D-NM), and Brown (D-OH).


In addition to Representatives Scott and Polis, other cosponsors in the House of Representatives include Reps. Adams (NC-12), Bass (CA-37), Beatty (OH-03), Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), Bonamici (OR-01), Carson (IN-07), Castro (TX-20), Chu (CA-27), Cicilline (RI-01), Clark (MA-05), Cleaver II (MO-05), Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Conyers Jr. (MI-13), Courtney (CT-02), Cummings (MD-07), D. Davis (IL-07), S. Davis (CA-53), DelBene (WA-01), DeSaulnier (CA-11), Dingell (MI-12), Espaillat (NY-13), Frankel (FL-21), Fudge (OH-11), Grijalva (AZ-03), Guitérrez (IL-04), Hanabusa (HI-01), Hastings (FL-20), Jayapal (WA-07), Khanna (CA-17), Kihuen (NV-04), Kilmer (WA-06), Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Kuster (NH-02), Langevin (RI-02), Lawrence (MI-14), Lee (CA-13), Luján (NM-03), Matsui (CA-06), McEachin (VA-04), Moore (WI-04), Norcross (NJ-01), Norton (DC-AL), Payne Jr. (NJ-10), Pelosi (CA-12), Pocan (WI-02), Raskin (MD-08), Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Rush (IL-01), Sablan (MP-AL), Shea-Porter (NH-01), Speier (CA-14), Takano (CA-41), Vargas (CA-51), Velázquez (NY-07), Walz (MN-01), Welch (VT-AL), and Wilson (FL-24).


Text of the Child Care for Working Families Act can be found HERE.


Fact sheet on the Child Care for Working Families Act can be found HERE.


Over [100 Organizations] have endorsed the Child Care for Working Families Act: AASA: The School Superintendents Association, All Our Kin, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, American Federation of Teachers, ASCD, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Center for American Progress, Caring Across Generations, Center for Community Change Action, Center for Frontline Retail, Child Care Aware® of America, Child Care Law Center, Child Welfare League of America, Children's Defense Fund, Children’s Leadership Council (CLC), CLASP, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Committee for Children, Common Sense Media, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Education Task Force, Council for Exceptional Children, Council of Administrators of Special Education, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Democrats for Education Reform, Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC), Easterseals, Economic Opportunity Institute, Every Child Matters, Family Focused Treatment Association, Family Values at Work, First Five Years Fund, First Focus Campaign for Children, IDEA Infant Toddler Coordinators Association, International Literacy Association, Jumpstart, Learning Disabilities Association of America, Make it Work Campaign, MomsRising, National Assocation of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association for Family Child Care, National Association of School Superintendents, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, National Black Child Development Institute, National Center for Families Learning, National Council of Jewish Women, National Council of Teachers of English, National Disability Rights Network, National Education Association, National Indian Head Start Directors Association, National Organization for Women, National PTA, National Writing Project, National Council on Learning Disabilities, National Women’s Law Center, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Ounce of Prevention Fund, Parents as Teachers, People's Action, People for the American Way, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, RESULTS: The Power to End Poverty, Save the Children, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), Schoolhouse Connection, School Social Work Association of America, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Teach Plus, The Arc of the United States, The Education Trust, United Parent Leaders Action Network, ZERO TO THREE, Arizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA), California Association for the Education of Young Children, California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, Child Care Aware of Washington, Children's Advocacy Alliance (NV), Children's Action Alliance (AZ), Children’s Alliance (WA), Children's Home Society of Washington, Children's Institute (OR), First 5 Association of California, First 5 California, First 5 LA, Kids Forward (WI), League of Education Voters (WA), Maine Association for the Education of Young Children, Maryland Working Families, Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children, Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children, Missouri Association for the Education of Young Children, NC-ACCESS, New Jersey Association for the Education of Young Children, New York State Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children, Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children, OneAmerica (WA), Orange County Association for the Education of Young Children, Pennsylvania Child Care Assocation, Puerto Rico Association for the Education of Young Children, Ready at Five Maryland, Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children, Schools Out Washington, South Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children, Strategies for Children (MA), The YMCA of Greater Seattle (WA), Utah Association for the Education of Young Children, Voices of Virginia's Children, Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP, Wellspring Family Services (WA), and the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association.