May 27, 2020

Warren, DeLauro, Scott, Murray, Smith & Members Introduce $50 Billion Child Care Stabilization Fund Legislation

Washington, D.C. - Today, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced new legislation, the Child Care is Essential Act, to create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund within the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program.

In April, Senators Warren and Smith released their plan for a $50 billion child care bailout to stabilize the child care system, keep providers in business, and ensure parents are able to go back to work. They wrote to Congressional leadership in March urging them to support child care in relief package and led 29 of their Senate colleagues in April calling on Senate leadership to include their plan for a $50 billion child care bailout in the next coronavirus relief package

As businesses begin to re-open and working families need child care, many providers across the country remain shut down or are operating with significantly reduced capacity. Child care providers that are able to stay open are struggling to cover their increased operating costs with limited revenue, and many are at risk of permanent closure. Recent estimates from the National Women's Law Center show that it would take at least $9.6 billion per month to keep current child care providers in business.

The new Child Care Stabilization Fund would provide grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector and support providers to safely reopen and operate. These grants would help child care providers and working families by:

  • Ensuring that the grants adequately support providers' operating expenses and funding gets to them quickly;
  • Requiring that providers continue to pay their staff, including hazard pay for those caring for children of essential workers;
  • Providing tuition and copayment relief for working families and essential workers;
  • Promoting health and safety through compliance with public health guidance;
  • Prioritizing providers that serve underserved populations;
  • Ensuring grants are awarded equitably across child care settings; and
  • Conducting oversight through robust reporting requirements.

"Without emergency relief funding, our child care system is in danger of collapsing," said Senator Warren. "I'm glad to partner with Senators Murray and Smith and Representatives Scott and DeLauro to introduce legislation for a $50 billion child care bailout that is critical for families and to our country's recovery." 

"The workers and small business owners that care for our children while we work desperately need the federal government's help," said Congresswoman DeLauro. "The COVID-19 pandemic has our nation on the precipice of an economic catastrophe the likes of which we have never seen, and child care providers are facing financial ruin. To date, the Congress has provided much needed funding to deal with the crisis-passing a $3.5 billion infusion in the CARES Act and $7 billion in the House-passed Heroes Act-but now needs to do much more to meet the demands of this historic moment. That is why we must invest $50 billion to support our nation's working families and this critical industry in our economy. I urge my colleagues in the Appropriations Committee and throughout the Congress to join us in this effort."

"We absolutely cannot overlook the critical role child care will play in our nation's ability to recover from the current COVID-19 crisis. Right now, frontline workers are relying on access to child care in order to keep our communities safe, healthy and fed. Yet, our entire child care system is struggling to keep doors open for families. I have talked to child care providers across Washington state and each one of them has told me that their business just can't survive this crisis without support," said Senator Murray. "We have long had a child care crisis in this country, but if the federal government doesn't step up immediately, not only will frontline workers be unable to stay on the job, but families across the country might not have child care providers to return to once our economy opens up. Everyday we wait while the child care crisis worsens-we have to do everything we can to make sure that all families-not just the wealthiest families-have access to child care right now, and in the future."

House cosponsors of the Child Care is Essential Act include: Representatives Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), and Haley Stevens (MI-11). Senate cosponsors include: Bob Casey (D-PA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).