May 29, 2020

DeLauro, Scott, Murray, Watson Coleman, Members Introduce $50 Billion Child Care Stabilization Fund Legislation

Wednesday, 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, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, 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. 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;
  • Providing tuition and copayment relief for working families;
  • 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.

“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.”

“With many schools still closed and few to no options for summer camp as parents prepare to head back to work, it is imperative that we ensure our child care system is ready to absorb the influx of children,” said Congresswoman Watson Coleman. “Many child care facilities have gone weeks or months without a steady source of income as families stayed home and facilities were shut down to halt the spread of the virus. The Child Care Stabilization Fund will help us stabilize these facilities and in turn allow families to go back to work as we begin the process of reopening.

House cosponsors of the Child Care is Essential Act include: Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), and Haley Stevens (MI-11). Senate cosponsors include: Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

A one-page summary of the Child Care is Essential Act can be found here.