House and Senate Democrats Introduce Comprehensive Child Care and Early Learning Bill to Ensure Child Care for All

February 26, 2019
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education and Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03), House Committee on Education and Labor, and Chairman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (NMI-AL), House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, along with 96 other cosponsors, introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act − a comprehensive early learning and child care bill to ensure affordable, high-quality child care for working middle class families and those living paycheck to paycheck. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced a companion bill in the Senate with 35 cosponsors.

“The high cost of child care is a heavy burden that falls on children, families, and our economy as a whole. Children are too often denied the foundation they need to reach their potential, parents are forced to choose between child care and work, and these challenges have both short- and long-term consequences for our economy. The Child Care for Working Families Act addresses this national crisis by ensuring that all families can afford to send their children to a quality child care program that will support them through a critical stage in their lives,” said Chairman Bobby Scott, House Committee on Education and Labor.

“All around the country, parents are struggling to find and afford high-quality child care, and some are even being forced to work fewer hours or not work at all, so they can take care of their children,” said Ranking Member Murray, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. “I know we can do better—that is why I’m proud to reintroduce the Child Care for Working Families Act today to ensure every working family has access to high-quality, affordable child care, and that our child care educators are paid what they deserve. This is not only the right thing to do for working families, but it’s a smart investment in our children, our future, and our economy.”

The Child Care for Working Families Act would address the current early learning and care crisis by ensuring that no family under 150 percent of state median income pays more than seven percent of their income on child care. Families would pay their fair share for care on a sliding scale, regardless of the number of children they have. Families under 75 percent of the state median income will not have to pay anything at all. The bill would also support universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year olds. Finally, the bill would significantly improve compensation and training for the child care workforce to ensure that our nation’s teachers and caregivers have the support they need, as well as the children they are caring for, to thrive.

“Too many working families today are priced out of high-quality child care and pre-school,” said Congressman Sablan. “The Child Care for Working Families Act is a bold proposal to close the gap in access to affordable, quality child care and early education. As Chair of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, I will continue to fight to ensure our children have the best possible start in life, and families have access to high-quality child care and preschool.”

“Affordable, high-quality child care helps give children the early learning experiences they need to succeed in school, enables parents to work so they can support their families and provides certainty to employers who are able to retain skilled, productive workers,” said Senator Casey. “Investing in child care is good for children and for our economy and that is why I am a proud original cosponsor of the Child Care for Working Families Act. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the HELP Committee to advance this legislation.”

The Child Care for Working Families Act would jumpstart our economy by creating 770,000 new child care jobs and allowing 1.6 million parents, primarily mothers, go back to work. It would also lift one million families out of poverty.

“Child care is foundational for future academic and social success yet remains unaffordable and unavailable for working and middle class families in Hawaii – who face the highest cost of living in the country,” said Senator Hirono. “At nearly $700 per month, child care is the second highest household expense after housing for most families – surpassing the amount they spend on food, utilities, transportation or health care. The Child Care for Working Families Act represents a long-term investment in our keiki to ensure that every family can access high-quality, affordable early learning and child care programs.”

Bipartisan support for child care and early learning is already building in Congress. In March 2018, Congress agreed to the largest increase in child care funding ever, and continued the increased investments in child care while increasing funding for Head Start in the Fiscal Year 2019 bill.

In addition to Congressman Scott and Sablan, the bill is also cosponsored by Representatives McEachin (VA-04), Schiff (CA-28), Espaillat (NY-13), Hastings (FL-20), Adams (NC-12), ?McLane Kuster (NH-02), Eshoo (CA-18), Brown (MD-04), Lee (CA-13), Luján (NM-03), Thompson (MS-02), McCollum (MN-04), Pascrell (NJ-09), Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Lawrence (MI-14), Maloney (NY-12), Crist (FL-13), Pingree (ME-01), Davis (IL-07), Cicilline (RI-01), Price (NC-04), Dingell (MI-12), Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Heck (WA-10), Kilmer (WA-06), Beyer (VA-08), Norcross (NJ-01), Holmes Norton (DC), Cummings (MD-07), Vela (TX-34), Wilson (FL-24), Meng (NY-06), Napolitano (CA-32), Moore (WI-04), Johnson (GA-04), Speier (CA-14), Langevin (RI-02), Raskin (MD-08), Schakowsky (IL-09), Nadler (NY-10), McNerney (CA-09), McGovern (MA-02), Gomez (CA-34), Castro (TX-20), Courtney (CT-02), Serrano (NY-15), Kennedy III (MA-04), Vargas (CA-51), Brownley (CA-26), Blunt Rochester (DE), Frankel (FL-21), Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Fudge (OH-11), Kaptur (OH-09), DeSaulnier (CA-11), Pocan (WI-02), Takano (CA-41), Quigley (IL-05), Lowey (NY-17), Torres (CA-35), Velázquez (NY-07), DeFazio (OR-04), Welch (VT), Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Grijalva (AZ-03), Khanna (CA-17), Gallego (AZ-07), Maloney (NY-18), Moulton (MA-06), Cohen (TN-09), DelBene (WA-01), Bonamici (OR-01), Deutch (FL-22), Lieu (CA-33), Cox (CA-21), Ryan (OH-13), Clarke (NY-09), Omar (MN-05), Haaland (NM-01), Jackson Lee (TX-18), Levin (MI-09), Hill (CA-25), Wild (PA-07), Schrier (WA-08), Hayes (CT-05), Green (TX-09), Trahan (MA-03), Tlaib (MI-13), Pressley (MA-07), DeGette (CO-01), Richmond (LA-02), Shalala (FL-27), Underwood (IL-14), DeLauro (CT-03), Lofgren (CA-19), and Morelle (NY-25).

In addition to Senators Murray, Casey, and Hirono, the bill is also cosponsored by Senators Baldwin (D-WI), Blumenthal (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Brown (D-OH), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Coons (D-DE), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Duckworth (D-IL), Durbin (D-IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Gillibrand (D-NY), Harris (D-CA), Hassan (D-NH), Klobuchar (D-MN), Leahy (D-VT), Markey (D-MA), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Murphy (D-CT), Peters (D-MI), Reed (D-RI), Rosen (D-NV), Sanders (I-VT), Schatz (D-HI), Schumer (D-NY), Smith (D-MN), Udall (D-NM), Van Hollen (D-MD), Warren (D-MA), Whitehouse (D-RI), and Wyden (D-OR).

Legislative 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.

Section by section of the Child Care for Working Families Act can be found here.

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