Letter to Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, and Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House - Making Bold Investments in Affordable Child Care for Families


By: Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan, Marilyn Strickland, Adam Smith, Derek Kilmer, Rick Larsen, Peter Welch, Gerry Connolly, Jennifer Wexton, Don Beyer, Jr., Donald McEachin, Lloyd Doggett II, Marc Veasey, Colin Allred, Eddie Johnson, Sylvia Garcia, Sheila Jackson Lee, Veronica Escobar, Vicente Gonzalez, Jim Langevin, David Cicilline, Mike Doyle, Jr., GT Thompson, Jr., Susan Wild, Chrissy Houlahan, Mary Scanlon, Madeleine Dean, Dwight Evans, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Shontel Brown, Marcy Kaptur, Jamaal Bowman, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velázquez, Grace Meng, Thomas Suozzi, Dina Titus, Teresa Leger Fernandez, Melanie Stansbury, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Albio Sires, Donald Norcross, Annie Kuster, Alma Adams, Kathy Manning, David Price, Deborah Ross, G. K. Butterfield, Jr., Emanuel Cleaver II, Ilhan Omar, Betty McCollum, Dean Phillips, Angie Craig, Brenda Lawrence, Debbie Dingell, Haley Stevens, Dan Kildee, Chellie Pingree, Jamie Raskin, David Trone, Anthony Brown, John Sarbanes, Dutch Ruppersberger, Stephen Lynch, Ayanna Pressley, Katherine Clark, Jake Auchincloss, Lori Trahan, Troy Carter, Sharice Davids, Bill Foster, Jan Schakowsky, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Danny Davis, Chuy Garcia, Marie Newman, Cindy Axne, Kai Kahele, Lucy McBath, Nikema Williams, Hank Johnson, Jr., Frederica Wilson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Lois Frankel, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Kathy Castor, Al Lawson, Jr., Eleanor Norton, Jahana Hayes, Jim Himes, John Larson, Jason Crow, Diana DeGette, Sara Jacobs, Scott Peters, Juan Vargas, Alan Lowenthal, Nanette Barragán, Mark Takano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Karen Bass, Norma Torres, Jimmy Gomez, Ted Lieu, Grace Napolitano, Tony Cárdenas, Adam Schiff, Judy Chu, Julia Brownley, Salud Carbajal, Anna Eshoo, Ro Khanna, Jackie Speier, Barbara Lee, Mark DeSaulnier, Josh Harder, Jerry McNerney, Doris Matsui, Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, Terri Sewell, Joaquin Castro
Date: June 23, 2022
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Family

Dear Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi:

As the Senate continues deliberations on a new economic reconciliation package, we write to express support for the recent Murray-Kaine proposal on child care and early learning investments and urge its inclusion in the reconciliation package. This new proposal will provide children and working families with critical support to access quality, affordable child care and give child care providers additional resources they so desperately need to help get our economy back on track. Leaving child care out of an upcoming reconciliation package is unacceptable. Parents, especially women, need this investment to get back to work, and employers need their workers to have reliable child care.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the child care industry has faced numerous and steep challenges in their work to adequately serve the population most affected by the pandemic. Families were forced to choose between staying home to care for their children or returning to the workforce and relying on inefficient or scarce alternatives. Furthermore, as inflationary pressures increase and families face rising child care prices, this proposal will allow parents, families, and child care workers to offset part of that burden. The funding will allow those parents who have been unable to rejoin the workforce an opportunity to continue their careers, make sure that their children are adequately cared for, and support the existing child care workforce.

Supporting the child care workforce is a matter of both economic and racial justice, as the House recognized when it passed a robust child care package in the Build Back Better Act. Data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that caregivers earn an average of just $12.24 per hour. And we know that the inadequate wages are disproportionately harmful to the women, and overwhelmingly women of color, who make up the care workforce. According to The Education Trust, Black child care workers earn an average of 78 cents less per hour than their white counterparts, even when controlling for education level. The investments in the Murray-Kaine proposal are long overdue updates that will provide these workers with better access to fair compensation and recognize the importance of their work.

We approve of the balanced approach in the proposal between strengthening existing programs and allowing for innovation. The Murray- Kaine plan will triple resources for the nation's existing child care assistance program, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This funding would be available to every state, allowing parents and families across the country to access reliable and effective child care options. According to the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), more than 1 million new children and their families could receive child care assistance to lower their costs through the plan's CCDBG investment. Additionally, we support the proposal's dedicated funding for increasing wages for Head Start staff, expanding access to high-quality preschool, expanding the supply of high-quality child care, and improving compensation for the early childhood workforce--priorities supported in the House's Build Back Better Act.

We are also particularly supportive of the proposal's creation of a pilot program that allows some states to test a child care system in which a broader set of low- and middle-income families will not pay more than 7 percent of their income for child care for children under age six. This pilot will incentivize innovation and reform that is desperately needed in the field.

As parents look to return to the workforce and workers in all industries aim to deal with inflationary price increases, child care funding remains crucial to fostering a strong care and early education system and strengthening our economy. Thank you for your consideration of our request, we look forward to working with you on this important initiative.