In remarks on the Senate floor, Senator Murray called for a vote on her $430 billion bill to ensure child care providers, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities can continue to provide quality services to children and students across the country
Republican Senator Mike Lee blocked Senator Murray’s efforts
Senator Murray: “Our child care providers, students, families, educators and schools cannot wait a day longer. I urge my colleagues to pass this bill immediately.”
***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S FULL REMARKS HERE***
(Washington, D.C.) – In remarks on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, urged Senate Republicans to stop their months-long delay and finally provide relief for students, families, schools, and educators by passing the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA), a $430 billion bill to address the national child care and education crises. Senators Murray and Schumer, along with 16 of their Democratic colleagues, introduced the bill earlier today.
“COVID-19 has upended child care and schools in ways that are truly unprecedented—creating chaos across our education system. But since we passed the CARES Act—over three months ago—Senate Republicans have done nothing to address the countless challenges our child care providers, educators, schools, and of course students and families are facing,” said Senator Murray.
“There is a long road ahead to fully address the education and child care crises—but this bill is an important first step. Our child care providers, students, families, educators, and schools cannot wait a day longer. I urge my colleagues to pass this bill immediately,” continued Senator Murray.
In her remarks, Senator Murray noted that her bill would address the growing child care and education crises by providing a serious, much-needed investment to ensure that child care providers can remain open and K-12 schools and colleges can address a variety of issues including implementing public health measures, addressing learning loss among students, and providing emergency financial assistance to post-secondary students during the pandemic.
Despite Senator Murray’s warnings that without federal action, the United States risks losing 4.5 million child care slots and 1.9 million education jobs, exacerbating students’ learning loss, causing more higher education students to drop out due to economic struggles, and widening disparities that harm Black students and other students of color, her efforts were blocked by Republican Senator Mike Lee (R-UT).
Senator Murray’s full remarks are below.
“Thank you, M. President. And thank you to my Democratic colleagues, for joining me on the floor this evening—Senate Baldwin, Senator Hassan, Senator Schumer—to advocate for much-needed action to protect workers, provide relief to state and local governments, and bolster our public health system.
“I rise to speak about the steps we need to take to invest in child care and education.
“COVID-19 has upended child care and schools in ways that are truly unprecedented—creating chaos across our education system.
“But since we passed the CARES Act—over three months ago—Senate Republicans have done nothing to address the countless challenges our child care providers, educators, schools, and of course students and families are facing.
“Instead, Senate Republicans have chosen to pretend this crisis is over and return to business as usual. Which for them, means voting on partisan judges and not much else.
“But as my Republican colleagues continue to delay any response—urging Democrats to pump the breaks and ‘wait and see,’ we are hearing from parents who aren’t sure if they can go back to work because their child care provider has closed.
“We are hearing from teachers, not sure if they’ll have a job to return to in the fall.
“And we are hearing from college students, who might be forced to drop out because they desperately need financial assistance during this economic downturn.
“We don’t need to ‘wait and see’ to know that we need to provide relief immediately.
“In our child care system alone, we are at risk of losing millions of child care slots as providers across the country are struggling to keep their doors open.
“And as Senate Republicans bury their heads in the sand, our K-12 schools are now facing some of the biggest cuts to state and local revenue that we have seen in a long time—all the while struggling with the increased costs of dealing with how to re-open safely and continue to provide quality education during a pandemic.
“And we know that this crisis is hitting students of color, students from low-income families, students experiencing homelessness, students with disabilities, and many other students who are marginalized in our education system especially hard.
And our higher education system is under serious financial pressure too—as colleges across the country, especially our nation's HBCUs, tribal colleges, and minority-serving institutions, struggle with the consequences of this pandemic.
“Many students have been forced to drop out of higher education because they lost their job or can’t meet basic needs.
“To address all of these problems, we need a massive investment in our child care system, our schools, and our students and families right now.
“Which is why, today, I’m introducing the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act.
“My bill creates a Child Care Stabilization Fund—which will provide grants to ensure that providers can stay open and that working families get the tuition relief they need.
“It will provide K-12 schools with the funds they desperately need to help: students with increased academic and social-emotional supports to address learning loss; put in place public health measures to make schools safer for students and educators; ensure specific funding to support students with disabilities; and address the growing inequities for students of color and many others.
“This bill will also make a $132 billion investment in our higher education system to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses like food, housing, child care, and technology supplies, and help colleges to confront the increased costs and financial pressures they face during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Additionally, this bill will reverse Secretary DeVos’ cruel attempts to prevent millions of students—including undocumented students and DACA recipients—from receiving emergency aid, block her from giving special favors to colleges that don’t need taxpayer dollars, and stop her from taking funding meant for public schools to advance her privatization agenda.
“There is a long road ahead to fully address the education and child care crises—but this bill is an important first step.
“Our child care providers, students, families, educators and schools cannot wait a day longer. I urge my colleagues to pass this bill immediately.