June 19, 2019

Senator Warren and Colleagues to Congressional Budget Negotiators: Make Child Care, Affordable Housing, and Addressing the Climate Crisis Top Priorities

Text of the Letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as they negotiate a potential two-year budget agreement, urging the negotiators to prioritize investments in three key areas: child care, affordable housing, and combatting the climate crisis.

"Two essential components of families' economic stability, parents' ability to work, and children's healthy development are stable, affordable housing and high-quality, affordable child care," wrote the lawmakers. "In addition to the pressing needs of affordable housing and child care, any budget caps increase should include significant new investments to tackle the climate crisis, and those investments should be targeted to both reduce emissions and help working families."

The lawmakers noted that the two-year budget negotiating process, which began in April 2019, is a critical opportunity to target additional investments to help the millions of American families struggling to get by in today's economy. They pointed to chronic underinvestment in affordable housing and child care programs as driving factors behind poverty in America, and called for significant new investments to ensure that everyone who qualifies for federal housing or child care assistance programs is able to receive it. They also called for greater investments in renewable energy technologies, clean transportation systems, and other programs to boost the transition to a clean energy economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate devastation. The letter also noted that these investments should be targeted to reduce the cost of electricity and benefit working families.

"A budget is a statement of our values, and Congress must value investments in our most pressing priorities, primarily the needs of struggling families and their children and the existential threat posed by the climate crisis," they concluded.

"As the housing crisis worsens, Congress must act to make robust investments in solutions -- starting with lifting the low spending caps that have deprived families and communities of the affordable homes they need to thrive. On behalf of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, I applaud Senator Warren and her colleagues for leading the charge," said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

These three areas have long been top priorities for Senator Warren.

Senator Warren publicly advocated for doubling federal support for child care during the FY2018 federal spending bill negotiations and highlighted her own struggles finding child care as a young mother. The two-year budget agreement Congress passed in February 2018 doubled federal funding for Child Care and Development Block Grants by providing an additional $5.8 billion, the largest increase in the program's history. The funding helps 230,000 more kids access child care.

She recently partnered with Representative Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) to unveil the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act, a comprehensive and bicameral bill that would provide millions of families with free, high-quality child care and early learning options and ensure that every family in the country can affordable access these services.

She is the author of one of the most ambitious plans proposed in the last fifty years to combat the affordable housing crisis. She partnered with Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) to introduce the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, which would produce or preserve more than 3 million new housing units over the next decade, and bring down rents for low-income and middle-class families by 10%. She has also introduced legislation, the Climate Risk Disclosure Act, to require every public company to disclose critical information about their exposure to climate-related risks. She is an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal Resolution and the lead sponsor of a bill to require the Department of Defense to adapt its infrastructure and operations to address climate change and improve energy efficiency in order to strengthen military readiness.