CONGRESSWOMAN ANGIE CRAIG CALLS FOR ADDITIONAL CHILD CARE COVID-19 RELIEF FUNDING
Rep. Angie Craig joined Reps. Katherine Clarke (MA-5), Jahana Hayes (CT-5), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), Danny Davis (IL-7), and Tom Malinowski (NJ-7) in calling for a $100 billion investment to aid in the relief, recovery and revitalization of the child care sector in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy, the House members outline a proposal providing $50 billion in the form of short-term stabilization funding and an additional $50 billion in long-term recovery funding to support students, families and providers.
“We write today urging a robust investment in our nation’s child care system,” the members wrote. “Child care is critical to supporting essential workers today and to our economic future. The nation’s early education and child care sector has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and is in dire need of emergency relief funds. In addition, we must take the opportunity to create a stronger, more affordable and accessible child care industry by making a long-term investment in our nation’s caregivers, facilities, and families.”
According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, 60 percent of licensed child care providers have already closed due to the pandemic and a survey from the National Association for the Education of Young Children shows that only 11% of our nation’s child care providers will survive without government support. The immediate $50 billion in short term investment would be used to sustain the viability of providers that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 and fund emergency care for the 6 million children of essential workers.
The lawmakers’ $50 billion long term investment would expand current funding and tax credits to support families and students while also creating new grant programs for child care infrastructure and workforce development.
Under their proposal, the financial burden associated with child care would be significantly reduced for families by:
- Requiring employers to extend the grace period to use a Dependent Care Assistance Plan;
- Enhancing and making the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit refundable;
- Providing an increase in mandatory federal child care funding through the Child Care Entitlement to States and temporally waiving the state match for that increase so more families can access subsidized child care;
- Reauthorizing the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program at $200 million annually to provide more child care support to student parents.
The letter also calls for the creation of competitive infrastructure grants to support both the renovation and new construction of child care facilities, with priority given to those areas of the country that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
In addition to prioritizing facilities, the House members are requesting an investment in the higher education of our nation’s early childhood educators by offering $20 million per year for a student loan repayment program.
Finally, the House members are calling for $3.8 billion in renovation, maintenance, and repair funding for Head Start Centers; $2.3 billion to provide updated technological services for in-home early learning school readiness programs; and $989 million to cover the cost of providing an additional hour of mental health consultation for each child.
The letter was co-signed by Rep. Angie Craig and 84 colleagues.