August 06, 2020

Warren, Smith, Colleagues Call on Senate Leadership to Secure Child Care Relief in the Next COVID-19 Stimulus Package

With the recent passage of the Child Care is Essential Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senators say including this bill in the next relief package must be a top priority so that we can begin the hard work of rebuilding and revitalizing our future.

Text of Letter

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) led their Senate colleagues in urging Senate leadership to prioritize the inclusion of their plan for a $50 billion child care bailout in the next coronavirus (COVID-19) relief package. The Child Care is Essential Act would stabilize the child care system, help keep the economy running, keep providers in business, and ensure parents can go back to work when it is safe to return. This legislation was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week with bipartisan support. 

 "As we continue to navigate the devastating impacts of the pandemic, the National Association for the Education of Young Children estimates that 40% of child care providers expect they will close permanently without additional assistance," wrote the Senators. "This would be devastating for children, families, child care providers, and businesses. Unfortunately, the CARES Act did not provide enough funds to stabilize the industry, and the Paycheck Protection Program provided short-term relief to less than 6 percent of all child care providers. Child care is too essential to fail. The upcoming stimulus must invest in child care so that we can stabilize and secure American families and our economy."

Families in America already faced a severe child care crisis before the pandemic, and the coronavirus emergency has increased costs and reduced revenues for many providers.  The Senators warn that the U.S. will not be able to rebuild its economy if its child care system collapses beneath the economic burden of COVID-19.

This letter is also signed by Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.),  Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.),  Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), and Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.).

The need for at least $50 billion in child care funding has also been echoed by a broad coalition of child care advocates nationwide. See the full list here.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Senator Warren has called on her colleagues to support and provide relief to the child care industry. In May, Senator Warren joined Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Bobby Scott (Va.), and Senators Patty Murray (D-WA.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), in introducing the Child Care is Essential Act, which would create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund within the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. In March, Senator Warren and her colleagues urged Senate leadership to include support for the child care sector in the upcoming COVID-19 relief package. Recently, in a New York Times op-ed, 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."