US House Democrats and Advocates Call for More Federal Funding for Child Care

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are urging Congress to approve President Joe Biden’s request for an additional $16 billion in funding for child care.

Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader in the House, and Katherine Clark, the Whip, joined child care advocates and other Democratic representatives in a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol.

Members of the Care Can’t Wait coalition, which includes organizations like the Service Employees International Union and Community Change Action, expressed their support for the supplemental funding request from the Biden administration, which has not yet been acted upon by Congress.

Community Change Action is an organization that advocates for “low-income people, especially low-income people of color,” according to its website. Coalition members also spent the day lobbying lawmakers to take action on child care funding.

Other Democratic representatives who showed their support at the press conference include Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon, Lois Frankel of Florida, Sara Jacobs of California, and Joaquin Castro of Texas.

Funding about to run out

With the expiration of pandemic-era American Rescue Plan funds, the White House has requested that Congress approve $16 billion in supplemental funds to continue supporting child care providers.

This funding would benefit “more than 220,000 child care providers across the country that serve over 10 million children,” according to a press release from the White House in November.

Jeffries stated that House Democrats will do whatever is necessary to support child care providers and fight for the full amount of funding.

“We will continue to show up, stand up, and speak up until we can secure $16 billion in funding here in Congress to allow the child care system to continue functioning with dignity,” Jeffries said.

Clark warned that without this additional funding, “workers will be laid off, kids will lose their classrooms, and parents will have nowhere to turn.”

According to DeLauro, many families are accepting lower incomes and a reduced standard of living in order to stay at home and care for their children.

Bonamici called for a bipartisan effort to pass the Biden administration’s request for supplemental child care funding.

“We must work together and save child care because time is of the essence,” Bonamici said.

Struggling to afford care

BriTanya Brown, a member of Community Change Action and a child care provider from Texas, shared her struggles to afford child care for her own children.

“I couldn’t afford to place my children in child care,” Brown said. “There were no affordable options available.”

Brown attributed her limited child care options to a shortage of teachers, many of whom do not earn enough to support their own families.

According to Brown, it is important for all children to have equal opportunities for quality education.

Maria Angelica Vargas, a child care provider from California and a member of SEIU, stated that families face challenges in accessing the affordable child care they need.

“Let’s ensure that families have access to affordable, high-quality child care by investing in our child care systems through additional emergency funding,” Vargas said.

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