Secretary Walsh, House and Senate Democratic Leaders Stress Importance of Child Care Proposal in American Families Plan
The American Families Plan, modeled off of Chairman Scott and Senator Murray’s Child Care for Working Families Act, would help working parents return to the workforce
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, were joined by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh at a press event to highlight the urgent need for Congress to enact the child care proposal in the American Families Plan.
The event – which also featured Democratic Women’s Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), and Dasja Reed, a working parent from New Orleans – comes in the wake of a new survey from the Federal Reserve that found more than 1 in 5 parents were out of work or working less in 2020 due to child care or school disruptions.
Data from the most recent jobs report show that the increase in workers rejoining the labor force came entirely from men, with women actually leaving the workforce in April, on net.
The American Families Plan invests $425 billion to expand access to quality child care and preschool through a model based on Rep. Scott and Sen. Murray’s Child Care for Working Families Act. The Biden-Harris plan would:
- Ensure that no working family making less than 150 percent of state median income would pay more than seven percent of their income on child care, and families struggling the most would not pay anything at all.
- Increase wages for the early childhood workforce and ensure that those with similar qualifications as kindergarten teachers receive comparable compensation and benefits.
- Expand the supply of quality child care options, including for infants and toddlers.
- Secure universal access to PreK for 3- and 4-year-olds.
“For the Biden-Harris Administration, and for working people who have lost or had to leave jobs in the pandemic, addressing the lack of accessible, affordable care is a top priority,” Secretary Walsh. “It’s a top priority because we know: childcare is work that holds up the rest of our economy. It’s the definition of essential infrastructure. The American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan provide a roadmap for an economy that works for working families.”
“Our nation’s broken child care system has been placing a heavy burden on parents since long before the pandemic. Four years ago, I joined Senator Murray, Senator Casey, and many House and Senate colleagues to introduce the Child Care for Working Families Act – a bold proposal to reduce the cost of child care for families, increase wages for child care workers, and expand the availability of quality child care and preschool options,”said Chairman Scott (D-VA). “The urgent need to overhaul our child care system is only growing. I am pleased that the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan include significant child care investments that are modeled after our proposal. Expanding access to quality child care and preschool is one the best investments we can make in America’s future.”
“Across the country, child care providers have closed due to COVID-19, and millions of women—who are already more likely to shoulder caregiving responsibilities—have been forced to quit their jobs. Businesses are re-opening, people are getting vaccinated, cases are going down and things are starting to look up, but yet, of the 4.2 million women who dropped out of the labor force early in the pandemic, nearly 2 million have yet to return,” said Chair Murray (D-WA). “If we don’t solve our child care crisis, there isn’t going to be an economic recovery—it’s that simple. To get parents back to work, we need to pass the Child Care for Working Families Act, and I’m just thrilled the Biden-Harris administration has rightly prioritized child care and preschool in the American Families Plan. Child care is absolutely critical to our infrastructure and I’ll keep fighting to get this plan across the finish line.”
“Child care is essential infrastructure,” said Representative Frankel (D-FL). “As someone who was a working mother, and is now a working grandmother, I can tell you from experience: Women are only going to get on these new roads and bridges if they have somewhere safe and affordable to take care of their children.”
“When children learn more earlier in life, they earn more later,” said Senator Casey (D-PA). “Around one in five working-age adults said the reason they were not working was that COVID-19 disrupted their child care arrangements. I am proud to support the Child Care for Working Families Act to ensure all families have access to care. Investing in early education and child care is an investment in our future.”
“Having quality child care consistently over the last two years would have made such a difference for us and I know it would mean a lot to other families,” said Dasja Reed, a mom for New Orleans. “We are scrambling to make ends meet. We are juggling jobs, school, and care for our children. We are really doing the best that we can. Now we need Congress to do the same and invest in the child care system.”
Contact: Democratic Press Office,202-226-0853
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