June 22, 2021

Warren, Clark, Wyden, Bonamici, Bowman, and More than 100 Colleagues Urge Leadership to Include $700B for Child Care in Infrastructure Package

"As with roads and bridges, child care is infrastructure that will uplift our economy."

"The next funding package presents an opportunity to provide needed support for child care providers, create and support over 2.3 million jobs for women, especially women of color, and invest in the next generation."

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Assistant Speaker of the House Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, along with Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), and more than 100 of their colleagues, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) urging them to include at least $700 billion over 10 years in direct spending on child care in the upcoming infrastructure package. 

"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 average pay for a child care worker was $12.24 an hour. 

"The upcoming infrastructure package presents a 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.

The letter was also signed by Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and 118 members of the House. 

Senator Warren has consistently called for immediate support for the child care industry:

  • In May 2021, Senators Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden, Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced the Building Child Care for a Better Future Act, which would allocate mandatory funding to build child care availability over the long term.
  • That same month, Senators Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden, Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark, House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), and Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) released a new report highlighting the critical need to expand and invest in our child care system and calling for $700 billion to support investments in child care as the country heads towards a post-pandemic economic recovery.
  • In April 2021, Senator Warren and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark led a call for President Biden to invest $700 billion over ten years through the American Families Plan to fix the nation's broken child care system, and with Senator Wyden and colleagues reintroduced the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act, a bill that would ensure every family has access to affordable child care and that child care workers are paid a livable wage equivalent to other educators with similar training.
  • In March 2021, Senator Warren and Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), published an op-ed on CNN.com on why we need big and bold improvements to the caregiving industry in America.
  • In January 2021, Senators Warren and Tina Smith issued a statement supporting the provisions totaling $50 billion in child care investments included in President Biden's American Rescue Plan, which Senators Warren and Smith had been calling for.
  • In August 2020, Senators Warren and Tina Smith called on Senate leadership to prioritize their plan for a $50 billion child care bailout in the next COVID-19 relief package.
  • In a New York Times op-ed published in July 2020, Senator Warren reiterated the need to secure child care funds and also called for "long-term investments so more families can find affordable, high-quality, and safe care in the future."
  • In April 2020, Senators Warren and Smith announced their plan for a $50 billion child care bailout.