Congress Must Prioritize Affordable Child Care for Families
November 9, 2017
On September 14, two leading Congressional champions for children —Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA)—introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act (S. 1806/H.R. 3773). The bill would make high-quality child care affordable and accessible to lower- and middle-class families under 150 percent of the state median income level by capping costs at 7 percent of a family’s budget. The bill would focus on preparing 3- and 4-year-old children for kindergarten and make new investments in training child care professionals.
NETWORK supports this bill because our faith teaches us that children are a gift and blessing from God. Working families are stretched beyond their means and struggle to meet day-to-day expenses like housing and utility expenses. In 33 states child care costs rival college tuition. Between 2007 and 2014 the median worker’s wages and compensation declined, respectively, by 4.0 and 1.9 percent. High-quality child care is simply unattainable for most families. That is unacceptable. The Child Care for Working Families Act would help alleviate this burden on working families and help more children enter Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten on track and prepared to meet core competencies in reading and math.
There is growing support for the Child Care for Working Families Act including from: 28 Senators, 98 Representatives, and more than 20 national advocacy organizations. Despite this strong support, the bill faces an uphill battle for passage since there is no support from Congressional Republicans. Additionally, the GOP-majority under the leadership of President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has prioritized passing tax cuts for the super wealthy, raising the deficit by $1.5 trillion on the backs of our children and working families. The GOP tax reform legislation does very little to help working families who are desperately in need of tax relief such as refundable tax credits for child care and housing. The Child Care for Working Families is a better alternative to tax proposals that would widen the wealth and income gap, and we encourage Congress to pass S.1806/H.R. 3773. The joy of raising a family should not be overshadowed by the rising costs of child care.