March 21, 2020

Senators Warren, Smith, Casey, Hirono, Kaine & Booker Urge Senate Leaders to Support Child Care in Coronavirus Stimulus Package

Lawmakers Say States Needs Resources to Stabilize Industry and Provide Child Care for Front-Line Healthcare and Essential Workers Responding to Coronavirus; As Congress Considers Bailouts for Giant Corporations and Industries, Senators Demand a Child Care Bailout to Save Local Child Care Providers and Child Care Workers from Economic Devastation

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and a number of their Senate colleagues—including Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.)—in urging Senate leadership to support child care as part of the third coronavirus stimulus package.

“Child care providers are struggling to stay afloat and may be forced out of business permanently. If providers are closed, they do not have revenue coming in to pay their staff and other operational costs. They cannot survive without public investment to cover these costs,” wrote the lawmakers. “In fact, a survey from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) of more than 6,000 providers from March 12-16 showed that 30% of providers would not survive a closure of more than 2 weeks. For the educators employed by these providers, they will lose their jobs and income necessary to afford basic necessities and to pay ongoing bills, like rent. For family child care providers who operate out of their homes, losing revenue and their business can also mean the loss of their housing. Providers that eventually re-open may face difficulty re-hiring qualified staff due to the low wages that early childhood educators often receive. Our communities already face a shortage of affordable, high-quality child care; providers closing or losing their staffs during this crisis will make it even more difficult for families to find care and significantly hamper the economy’s eventual recovery.”

The senators continued with “the third stimulus package should include expanded paid leave, unemployment insurance, housing assistance, and other supports for families and communities. The supports should be designed so that all child care providers and educators, whether in centers, family child care homes, or family, friend, and neighbor care, can participate and take advantage of the benefits. These investments are essential to mitigate the impact of the public health crisis now, but are also critically important for our eventual recovery. Unless we act now, our child care system will be harmed irreparably.”

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Senator Warren has pressed the Trump Administration to respond effectively to deliver the robust set of resources needed to address this emergency, including a faster expansion in diagnostic testing, medical supplies and care capacity, and support for state and local governments to be able to help people quickly. A week ago, she put out a plan to respond to the economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus crisis -- proposing at least $750 billion in stimulus money to save our economy and help families. Building on the proposals she laid out, she worked to ensure student loan debt cancellation and a critical increase in Social Security and disability benefits are a core part of the stimulus package Democrats negotiate. Senator Warren was also the first to lay out a detailed list of conditions tied to any taxpayer-funded bailouts, such as requiring companies to keep workers on payroll, implement a $15 minimum wage, permanently ban stock buybacks, prohibit CEO bonuses, and more. Her efforts are focused on ensuring stimulus money reaches the people who need it most in this crisis -- workers and families -- and bringing much-needed structural change to our economy.