May 22, 2024 6:39 am
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U.S. House Democrats and advocates push for additional federal child care funding

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by Samantha Dietel, Georgia Recorder

U.S. House Democratic leaders on Wednesday called on Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s $16 billion supplemental child care funding request.

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York and Whip Katherine Clark of Massachusetts gathered with child care activists and other House Democrats at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol.

Child care providers with the Care Can’t Wait coalition discussed their support for the Biden administration’s supplemental funding request, which has not been acted upon yet in Congress.

The Care Can’t Wait coalition includes organizations such as the Service Employees International Union and Community Change Action.

Community Change Action is a group advocating for “low-income people, especially low-income people of color,” according to the organization’s website. Members of the coalition also spent the day lobbying lawmakers in a call for action on child care funding.

Other Democrats showing support at the press conference included U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon, Lois Frankel of Florida, Sara Jacobs of California and Joaquin Castro of Texas.

Other funding running out

With pandemic-era American Rescue Plan funds expiring, the White requested that Congress pass $16 billion in supplemental funds to help continue support for child care providers.

This funding would “support more than 220,000 child care providers across the country that serve a total of more than 10 million kids,” according to a November White House press release.

Jeffries said House Democrats will do “whatever it takes” to support child care providers. He said Democrats will “stand strongly and fight” for “the entire amount of funding.”

“We are going to continue to show up, we are going to continue to stand up, we are going to continue to speak up,” Jeffries said, “until we are able to secure here in the Congress $16 billion in funding necessary to allow the child care system to continue to function in a dignified fashion.”

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

DeLauro said many families are “accepting lower household income and a lower standard of living in order to stay home and take care of their children.”

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

“We must work together and save childcare because care can’t wait,” Bonamici said.

Struggling to afford care

BriTanya Brown, a Community Change Action member and child care provider from Texas, said she struggled to afford child care for her own children.

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

Brown said her limited options for child care are because of a teacher shortage. Many teachers “do not have rising wages to support their own families,” Brown said.

Brown said it is important for children to have “an equal opportunity for the highest education.”

Maria Angelica Vargas, a child care provider from California and SEIU member, said families struggle to get the “affordable child care they need.”

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

Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John McCosh for questions: info@georgiarecorder.com. Follow Georgia Recorder on Facebook and Twitter.

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