Clark, Bonamici, Bowman, Warren, Wyden Call for $700 Billion for Child Care
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY-16), and Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) led over 100 of their colleagues in a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging them to include at least $700 billion over 10 years in direct spending on child care in the upcoming infrastructure package. Clark, Bonamici, and Bowman were joined on the letter by 118 House Members and ten additional senators. The full text of the letter can be found HERE.
“As the pandemic has made clear, child care is essential infrastructure that makes all other work in our country possible. High-quality child care also has long-lasting benefits for young children’s development. The next funding package should include at least $700 billion over 10 years in direct spending for long-term, structural investments in child care.We believe that this is a generational opportunity to invest in affordable, quality care for all children who need it, and we urge you not to let it go to waste,” the lawmakers wrote.
Even before COVID-19, many families were struggling to find affordable, quality child care. A national analysis found that half of all families live in neighborhoods classified as child care deserts, where there is an insufficient supply of quality child care. On average, child care deserts have maternal labor force participation rates that are three percentage points lower than in areas with a sufficient supply of child care providers. Despite child care workers being crucial to our economy, they rank among the bottom two percent of positions by salary. In 2020, the averagepay for a child care worker was $12.24 an hour.
“The upcoming infrastructure package presents an historic opportunity to not only recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic, but also to build a stronger caregiving economy for women and families across the country. Providing affordable, quality care for every child and family who needs it would create jobs, increase productivity, and have lifelong benefits for children’s development and growth. We urge you to prioritize investments in a stronger child care system in the next funding package to ensure that women and families are not left behind in our recovery,” the lawmakers continued.
In April, Clark and Warren led the call for the Biden administration to include at least $700 billion over the next ten years for long-term, structural investments in universal child care in the American Families Plan.