Letter to Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, and Hon. Charles Schumer, Majority Leader - Universal Childcare Provisions

Letter

By: Mark Pocan, Marilyn Strickland, Kim Schrier, Pramila Jayapal, Derek Kilmer, Peter Welch, Donald McEachin, Lloyd Doggett II, Colin Allred, Henry Cuellar, Sheila Jackson Lee, Vicente Gonzalez, Al Green, David Cicilline, Susan Wild, Chrissy Houlahan, Mary Scanlon, Earl Blumenauer, Paul Tonko, Jamaal Bowman, Ritchie Torres, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velázquez, Grace Meng, Steven Horsford, Melanie Stansbury, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Mikie Sherrill, Don Payne, Jr., Albio Sires, Tom Malinowski, Joshua Gottheimer, Andy Kim, Donald Norcross, Ann Kuster, Alma Adams, Kathy Manning, David Price, Deborah Ross, Emanuel Cleaver II, Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, Angie Craig, Rashida Tlaib, Debbie Dingell, Haley Stevens, Andy Levin, Chellie Pingree, Jamie Raskin, David Trone, John Sarbanes, Bill Keating, Stephen Lynch, Ayanna Pressley, Jake Auchincloss, Lori Trahan, Jim McGovern, Troy Carter, Sharice Davids, André Carson, Lauren Underwood, Jan Schakowsky, Danny Davis, Chuy Garcia, Marie Newman, Bobby Rush, Cindy Axne, Kaiali'i Kahele, Michael San Nicolas, David Scott, Lucy McBath, Nikema Williams, Hank Johnson, Jr., Frederica Wilson, Lois Frankel, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Eleanor Norton, Jahana Hayes, Jason Crow, Joe Neguse, Sara Jacobs, Juan Vargas, Lou Correa, Katie Porter, Maxine Waters, Mark Takano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Karen Bass, Norma Torres, Jimmy Gomez, Grace Napolitano, Tony Cárdenas, Julia Brownley, Ro Khanna, Eric Swalwell, Jared Huffman, Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, Terri Sewell, Mondaire Jones
Date: Sept. 21, 2021
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer:

We applaud your leadership on, and commitment to, passing President Biden's Build Back
Better initiatives. Last week, the House Committee on Education and Labor passed the necessary
investment in child care that reflects the scale and scope of support that American families need.
Specifically, the Committee's vote to ensure that no family pays more than 7 percent of its
household income on care for young children recognizes the economic benefits of protecting our
economy from the financial instability and workforce reduction caused by unaffordable child
care. We urge you to preserve this provision in the final passage of this bill.

As you know, child care is central to delivering on our promise to Build Back Better and invest
in our nation's children, families, and economic future. We have the opportunity to create a
universally affordable child care program that leaves no family behind. As such, we must give
every American access to child care by maintaining the provision to cap out-of-pocket child care
costs as a percentage of income. Abruptly cutting off eligibility at specific income levels fails to
recognize that the costs of child care disrupt the financial security of nearly all parents with
young children, particularly single mothers who need more care, people living in states with high
costs of child care, and people with more than one young child. It is important to underscore that
more families will be served by the 7 percent formula, as passed by the House Committee on
Education and Labor.

Before the pandemic, the average American family spent almost $10,000 a year per child on
child care. This expense is exacerbated for families living in states with high costs of living. In
more than half of states, child care tuition can exceed the cost of in-state college tuition, and for
many families the costs of child care dwarf even their home mortgage. To make matters worse,
about half of all parents planning to enroll their children in child care say they are planning to
accumulate credit card debt to pay for the expense. This is unacceptable. No parent should go
into debt to provide quality care for their child while working a full-time job.

These numbers are drastically worse for low-income single parents, who spend upwards of 50
percent of their earnings on child care. The Department of Health and Human Services has
determined that, in order to be affordable, child care should not cost a family more than 7 percent
of its household income.

The pandemic has created particular harms for some Americans. Working parents, especially
mothers, have lost their jobs or have been forced to reduce their working hours as the direct
result of school and day care closures. An estimated 1.2 million parents left the workforce
between February and October 2020. Women have lost nearly three million jobs since February
2020, and their return to the workforce has been anemic. In August 2021, women accounted for
just 12 percent of job gains. It would take nine straight years of job growth at that level for
women's participation in the workforce to be restored to pre-pandemic levels.

Given the inherent inequities of the pandemic, the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in July of this
year disproportionately affected women and parents, who are dealing with school and day care
closures along with continued financial hardships and an uncertain future of remote work.

Millions of Americans, particularly women, are continuing to leave the workforce, hesitating to
form small businesses, and forgoing promotions because child care is unaffordable for most
families. Our entire economy continues to suffer as a result. Businesses cannot effectively recruit
because child care accounts for nearly all of an entry-level employee's pay. Women have
stagnated in achieving leadership positions, and women's workforce participation is at a 30-year
low. Jobs during non-traditional hours are dominated by men. These realities are a big problem
for our economy.

The child care crisis is a crisis of productivity. It is an economic quicksand that multiple
generations are mired in: older Americans who provide unpaid child care to grandchildren,
parents who exit the workforce, and kids who fall behind because their families cannot afford
quality care. Including a universal cap on child care costs of 7 percent of annual household
income will allow us to deliver on our promises to the American people by creating a program
designed to target relief to workers who need it, especially in areas with high costs of living.

Thank you for your commitment to helping as many families as possible with this historic
legislation. We look forward to working with you to implement policies that will have a
profound impact on our nation's families.

Sincerely,

Mondaire Jones
Member of Congress
______________________
Mikie Sherrill
Member of Congress
______________________
Katie Porter
Member of Congress
______________________
Jahana Hayes
Member of Congress
______________________
Alma S. Adams, Ph.D.
Member of Congress
______________________
Colin Allred
Member of Congress
______________________
Jake Auchincloss
Member of Congress
______________________
Cindy Axne
Member of Congress
_____________________
Karen Bass
Member of Congress
_____________________
Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress
_____________________
Julia Brownley
Member of Congress
______________________
Lisa Blunt Rochester
Member of Congress
______________________
Jamaal Bowman
Member of Congress
______________________
Cori Bush
Member of Congress
______________________
Tony Cárdenas
Member of Congress
_____________________
André Carson
Member of Congress
_____________________
Troy A. Carter, Sr.
Member of Congress
______________________
David Cicilline
Member of Congress
_____________________
Yvette D. Clarke
Member of Congress
______________________
Emanuel Cleaver, II
Member of Congress
______________________
J. Luis Correa
Member of Congress
______________________
Angie Craig
Member of Congress
______________________
Jason Crow
Member of Congress
______________________
Henry Cuellar
Member of Congress
______________________
Sharice L. Davids
Member of Congress
______________________
Danny K. Davis
Member of Congress
______________________
Madeleine Dean
Member of Congress
______________________
Peter A. DeFazio
Member of Congress
______________________
Debbie Dingell
Member of Congress
______________________
Lloyd Doggett
Member of Congress
______________________
Adriano Espaillat
Member of Congress
______________________
Ruben Gallego
Member of Congress
______________________
Jesús G. "Chuy" García
Member of Congress
______________________
Jimmy Gomez
Member of Congress
______________________
Vicente Gonzalez
Member of Congress
_____________________
Josh Gottheimer
Member of Congress
_____________________
Al Green
Member of Congress
______________________
Raul M. Grijalva
Member of Congress
_____________________
Steven Horsford
Member of Congress
______________________
Chrissy Houlahan
Member of Congress
______________________
Jared Huffman
Member of Congress
______________________
Sheila Jackson Lee
Member of Congress
______________________
Sara Jacobs
Member of Congress
______________________
Pramila Jayapal
Member of Congress
_____________________
Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr.
Member of Congress
_____________________
Kaiali"i Kahele
Member of Congress
_____________________
William R. Keating
Member of Congress
______________________
Ro Khanna
Member of Congress
______________________
Derek Kilmer
Member of Congress
______________________
Andy Kim
Member of Congress
_____________________
Ann McLane Kuster
Member of Congress
______________________
Andy Levin
Member of Congress
______________________
Stephen Lynch
Member of Congress
______________________
Tom Malinowski
Member of Congress
______________________
Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress
______________________
Kathy Manning
Member of Congress
______________________
Lucy McBath
Member of Congress
______________________
A. Donald McEachin
Member of Congress
______________________
Jim McGovern
Member of Congress
______________________
Grace Meng
Member of Congress
_____________________
Jerrold Nadler
Member of Congress
______________________
Grace F. Napolitano
Member of Congress
______________________
Joe Neguse
Member of Congress
______________________
Marie Newman
Member of Congress
_____________________
Donald Norcross
Member of Congress
_____________________
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Member of Congress
_____________________
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Member of Congress
_____________________
Ilhan Omar
Member of Congress
______________________
Donald M. Payne, Jr.
Member of Congress
______________________
Chellie Pingree
Member of Congress
_____________________
Mark Pocan
Member of Congress
______________________
Ayanna Pressley
Member of Congress
______________________
David E. Price
Member of Congress
______________________
Jamie Raskin
Member of Congress
_____________________
Deborah K. Ross
Member of Congress
______________________
Lucille Roybal-Allard
Member of Congress
_____________________
Bobby L. Rush
Member of Congress
_____________________
Michael F.Q. San Nicolas
Member of Congress
______________________
John Sarbanes
Member of Congress
______________________
Mary Gay Scanlon
Member of Congress
_____________________
Jan Schakowsky
Member of Congress
______________________
Kim Schrier, M.D.
Member of Congress
_____________________
David Scott
Member of Congress
______________________
Terri A. Sewell
Member of Congress
______________________
Albio Sires
Member of Congress
_____________________
Melanie Stansbury
Member of Congress
______________________
Haley Stevens
Member of Congress
____________________
Marilyn Strickland
Member of Congress
_____________________
Eric Swalwell
Member of Congress
______________________
Mark Takano
Member of Congress
______________________
Rashida Tlaib
Member of Congress
______________________
Paul Tonko
Member of Congress
_____________________
Norma J. Torres
Member of Congress
______________________
Ritchie Torres
Member of Congress
______________________
Lori Trahan
Member of Congress
______________________
David Trone
Member of Congress
______________________
Lauren Underwood
Member of Congress
______________________
Juan Vargas
Member of Congress
_____________________
Nydia M. Velázquez
Member of Congress
______________________
Maxine Waters
Member of Congress
______________________
Bonnie Watson Coleman
Member of Congress
______________________
Peter Welch
Member of Congress
______________________
Susan Wild
Member of Congress
______________________
Nikema Williams
Member of Congress
______________________
Frederica Wilson
Member of Congress
______________________
Lois Frankel
Member of Congress


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